Kai Zhuang Shum, Shannon M. Suldo, Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick, Lindsey M. O’Brennan

A Qualitative Exploration of the Facilitators and Barriers of Cognitive Engagement Among Ninth-Grade Students in Accelerated Curricula

  • Education

In this study, we used an extreme case approach to examine the facilitators and barriers of cognitive engagement among freshmen in Advanced Placement (AP) or Pre-International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Twelve ninth-grade AP/IB students participated in semistructured interviews focused on cognitive engagement. After analyzing the data using a generic approach with an emphasis on constant-comparative methods, we identified five themes related to facilitators (i.e., students’ role, teachers’ role, parents’ role, school connectedness, and technology's role) and three themes related to barriers (i.e., student perceptions, negative academic experiences, and distractions). Most themes aligned with a priori themes derived from the literature. The findings can help educators understand what accelerated students perceive as helpful or harmful in promoting their level of cognitive engagement, which, in turn, may influence their academic achievement.

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