The Relationship between Types of Student Engagement (Emotional, Cognitive, and Behavioral) in an Informal Summer Science Camp Setting

Student Author(s)

Amanda Littleton

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Vicki-Lynn Holmes; Professor Tod Gugino; Dr. Catherine Mader

Document Type


Event Date



The relationship between student engagement and achievement has inspired additional research on the causes and effects of engagement. However, its definition is debatable. Therefore, engagement has been separated into three definable spheres: emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. Some researchers measure these spheres independently, while others call for a more multidimensional analysis of engagement. This study investigated the interaction between emotional and cognitive engagement, and how the relationship impacted student camper learning during summer science camps. Results showed a selfreported student increase in learning when a science activity was cognitively engaging; and an emotional engagement that remained relatively high throughout the camp. Results emphasized the inter-dependency between the three concepts: While neither cognitive engagement nor emotional engagement had a very large direct relationship with learning, when cognitive and emotional engagement interacted, learning was significantly affected. These findings highlight the importance of curriculum development can be improved if activities account for multiple forms of engagement.

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