Skip to main content

Validation of the Spanish Version of the School Engagement Measure (SEM)

  • Estibaliz Ramos-Díaz (a1), Arantzazu Rodríguez-Fernández (a1) and Lorena Revuelta (a1)

The scientific study of school engagement has recently been the subject of considerable interest in the field of educational psychology, and significant advances have been made in our knowledge of this construct. For instance, there is currently consensus in the scientific community that it is multifaceted, and has three dimensions: behavioral engagement, emotional engagement, and cognitive engagement. However, more advanced statistical analyses are needed to validate Spanish-language measures of school engagement, which this study proposes to do. The sample was comprised of 1,250 adolescents from Basque Country (49% boys, 51% girls) aged 12 to 15 years old (M = 13.72, SD = 1.09). The results of confirmatory factor analysis on the School Engagement Measure (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, Friedel, & Paris, 2005) supported a three-dimensional structure of school engagement (χ2 (100) = 676.93, p < .001; GFI = .931; CFI = .906; IFI = .907; SRMR = .058; RMSEA = .068). Reliability indexes were satisfactory, ranging from .83 to .94. Adequate evidence of concurrent validity was found for the variable perceived school performance (p < .01). The results are discussed from an educational perspective, and with an eye to future research.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Estibaliz Ramos-Díaz. University of the Basque Country. Developmental and Educational Psychology Department. Barrio Sarriena s/n. 48940. Leioa, Bizkaia (Spain). Phone: +34–647504368. E-mail:
Hide All
Abbott-Chapman, J., Martin, K., Ollington, N., Venn, A., Dwyer, T., & Gall, S. (2014). The longitudinal association of childhood school engagement with adult educational and occupational achievement: Findings from an Australian national study. British Educational Research Journal, 40(1), 102120.
Appleton, J. J. (2012). Systems consultation: Developing the assessment-to-intervention link with the student engagement instrument. In Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., Wylie, C., Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., & Wylie, C. (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 725741). New York, NY: Springer.
Appleton, J. J., Christenson, S. L., Kim, D., & Reschly, A. L. (2006). Measuring cognitive and psychological engagement: Validation of the student engagement instrument. Journal of School Psychology, 44, 427445.
Barrett, P. (2007). Structural equation modeling: Adjudging model fit. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 815824.
Bentler, P. M. (2006). EQS 6 structural equations program manual. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software.
Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1992). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. Sociological Methods Research, 21, 230258.
Chase, P. A., Hilliard, L. J., Geldhof, G. J., Warren, D. J. A., & Lerner, R. M. (2014). Academic achievement in the high school years: The changing role of school engagement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 884896.
Finn, J. D. (1989). Withdrawing from school. Review of Educational Research, 59, 117142.
Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59109.
Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., Friedel, J., & Paris, A. (2005). School engagement. In Moore, K. A. & Lippman, L. (Eds.), Conceptualizing and measuring indicators of positive development: What do children need to flourish? (pp. 305321). New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.
Fredricks, J. A., & McColskey, W. (2012). The measurement of student engagement: A comparative analysis of various methods and student self-report instruments. In Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., Wylie, C., Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., & Wylie, C. (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 763782). New York, NY: Springer.
Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 3950.
Garrett, C. (2011). Defining, detecting, and promoting student engagement in college learning environments. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal, 5, 112.
Glanville, J. L., & Wildhagen, T. (2007). The measurement of school engagement: Assessing dimensionality and measurement invariance across race and ethnicity. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 67, 10191041.
Green, J., Liem, G. A. D., Martin, A. J., Colmar, S., Marsh, H. W., & McInerney, D. (2012). Academic motivation, self-concept, engagement, and performance in high school: Key processes from a longitudinal perspective. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 11111122.
Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2006). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6(1), 155.
Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Kristjánsson, K. (2012). Positive psychology and positive education: Old wine in new bottles? Educational Psychologist, 47, 86105.
Li, Y., Lynch, A. D., Kalvin, C., Liu, J., & Lerner, R. M. (2011). Peer relationships as a context for the development of school engagement during early adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35, 329342.
Mahatmya, D., Lohman, B. J., Matjasko, J. L., & Farb, A. (2012). Engagement across developmental periods. In Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., & Wylie, C. (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 4563). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.
Marks, H. M. (2000). Student engagement in instructional activity: Patterns in the elementary, middle, and high school years. American Educational Research Journal, 37(1), 153184.
Moral, J., Sánchez-Sosa, J. C., & Villareal-González, M. (2010). Desarrollo de una Escala Multidimensional Breve de Ajuste Escolar [Development of a Brief Scale of School Adjustment]. Revista Electrónica de Metodología Aplicada, 15(1), 111.
Motti-Stefanidi, F., & Masten, A. S. (2013). School success and school engagement of immigrant children and adolescents: A risk and resilience developmental perspective. European Psychologist, 18, 126135.
Muñiz, J., & Hambleton, R. K. (1996). Directrices para la traducción y adaptación de tests [Guidelines for test translation and adaptation]. Papeles del Psicólogo, 66, 6370.
Nunnally, J. C. (1967). Psychometric theory. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Peterson, R. A., & Kim, Y. (2013). On the relationship between coefficient alpha and composite reliability. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(1), 194198.
Reschly, A. L., & Christenson, S. L. (2006). Prediction of dropout among students with mild disabilities: A case for the inclusion of student engagement variables. Remedial and Special Education, 27, 276292.
Reschly, A. L., & Christenson, S. L. (2012). Jingle, jangle, and conceptual haziness: Evolution and future directions of the engagement construct. In Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., Wylie, C., Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., & Wylie, C. (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 319). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.
Rodríguez-Fernández, A., Ramos-Díaz, E., Madariaga, J. M., Arrivillaga, A., & Galende, N. (2016). Steps in the construction and verification of an explanatory model of psychosocial adjustment. European Journal of Education and Psychology, 9(1), 2028.
Ros, I., (2014). El sentimiento de pertenencia de los estudiantes por curso y género en una cooperativa escolar de trabajo asociado [Sense of belonging in students, by year in school and gender, in a student worker cooperative]. Revista de Psicología y Educación, 9(1), 201218.
Ros, I., Goikoetxea, J., Gairín, J., & Lekue, P. (2012). Student engagement in the school: Interpersonal and inter-center differences. Journal of Psychodidactics, 17, 291307.
Rumberger, R. W., & Rotermund, S. (2012). The relationship between engagement and high school dropout. In Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., Wylie, C., Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., & Wylie, C. (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 491513). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.
Skinner, E., Furrer, C., Marchand, G., & Kindermann, T. (2008). Engagement and disaffection in the classroom: Part of a larger motivational dynamic? Journal of Educational Psychology, 100, 765781.
Schumacker, R. E., & Lomax, R. G. (2010). A beginner’s guide to structural equation modeling. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Veiga, F. H., Burden, R., Appleton, J., Taveira, M. C., & Galvão, D. (2014). Envolvimiento de los estudiantes en la escuela: Conceptualización y relaciones con variables personales y rendimiento académico. Una revisión de la literatura [Student involvement in school: Conceptualization and relationship to personal variables and academic achievement. A review of the literature]. Revista de Psicología y Educación, 9(1), 2947.
Voelkl, K. E. (2012). School identification. In Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., & Wylie, C. (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 193218). New York, NY: Springer.
Wang, M. T., & Holcombe, R. (2010). Adolescents’ perceptions of school environment, engagement, and academic achievement in middle school. American Educational Research Journal, 47, 633662.
Wang, M. T., Willett, J. B., & Eccles, J. S. (2011). The assessment of school engagement: Examining dimensionality and measurement invariance by gender and race/ethnicity. Journal of School Psychology, 49, 465480.
Wylie, C., & Hodgen, E. (2012). Trajectories and patterns of student engagement: Evidence from a longitudinal study. In Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., Wylie, C., Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., & Wylie, C. (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 585599). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.
Yazzie-Mintz, E. (2007). Voices of students on engagement: A report on the 2006 High School Survey of Student Engagement. Bloomington, IN: Center for Evaluation & Educational Policy, Indiana University.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Spanish Journal of Psychology
  • ISSN: 1138-7416
  • EISSN: 1988-2904
  • URL: /core/journals/spanish-journal-of-psychology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed