University of Minnesota
Check & Connect Student Engagement Intervention | Institute on Community Integration
Institute on Community Integration CEHD

Photo of mentor with four students, representing Check & Connect Student Engagement Intervention.

Student Engagement Instrument (SEI)

The Student Engagement Instrument (SEI) is a brief 35 item self-reporting survey measuring cognitive and affective engagement and is validated for students in 6th through 12th grade. Data allows school professionals to gain insights into a student’s sense of control, intrinsic motivation, and future aspirations (cognitive engagement factors). Support teams working with students will also have a better understanding of a student’s relationships with teachers, peers, and family support (affective engagement factors).

The SEI-E measures the same three affective engagement factors as the original SEI. The Student Engagement Instrument (SEI-E) has 33 questions and is validated for students in 3rd through 5th grade. However, for cognitive engagement, the SEI-E measures only future aspirations and intrinsic motivation.

Disengagement starts long before academic and behavioral indicators signal a need for intervention. The SEI will allow schools to increase effectiveness of early identification processes. For those students who are already showing signs of disengagement, combining SEI data with academic and behavioral data will help staff provide targeted engagement interventions.

Introduction to the Student Engagement Instrument

Administration and Use of the SEI

The SEI is currently available in pencil/paper form.

Cover of the SEI Engagement Instrument Implementation Guide

SEI measures what students think and feel about school. SEI—

  • Measures affective and cognitive student engagement using a self-report survey
  • Provides data to identify early warning signs of disengagement
  • Gives support team members information they need to develop personalized interventions

The SEI and SEI - E are utilized by

  • Teams working on interventions with students who are disengaged
  • School staff who needing data on student engagement to improve interventions
  • Student support teams delivering tiered support systems for at-risk students
  • Professionals serving all students in grades 3-12

Development of the SEI

The SEI is based on a model of engagement that grew out of work with Check & Connect. Check & Connect mentors recognized that successfully re-engaging students required more than meeting academic and behavioral standards of schools. Rather, successful engagement also required attention to students’ cognitive (e.g., self-regulation, perceived relevance of schooling, future goals) and affective engagement (e.g., belonging, relationships with teachers and peers) at school and with learning. Christenson and colleagues proposed a 4-part typology of engagement that included academic, behavioral, cognitive, and affective subtypes (Appleton, Christenson, Kim, & Reschly, 2006; Christenson & Anderson, 2002; Christenson et al., 2008; Reschly & Christenson, 2006). Indicators of students’ academic and behavioral engagement are typically readily available in school data systems; however, affective and cognitive engagement require student self-report.

Engagement Types and Indicators

Adapted from Reschly, Appleton, and Christenson, 2007; Reschly, Pohl, & Appleton, 2014;

Terms of Use

The SEI is free to use for research or practice purposes. You may not use it for purposes resulting in profit.

Download SEI

The 5-point scale includes “Neither Agree nor Disagree” answer choice which the 4-point scale does not. Use whichever version best meets your site's needs.

For Secondary School Students

For Elementary School Students

Recommended Reading

Appleton, J. J. (2012). Systems consultation: Developing the assessment-to-intervention link with the Student Engagement Instrument. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, and C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 725-741). New York, NY: Springer Science.

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, 427–445. doi: 10.1016/j/jsp.2006.04.002

Carter, C. P., Reschly, A. L., Lovelace, M. D., Appleton, J. J, & Thompson, D. (2012). Measuring student engagement among elementary students: Pilot of the Student Engagement Instrument—Elementary Version. School Psychology Quarterly, 27 (2), 61–73. doi: 10.1037/a0029229

Fredricks, J., McColskey, W., Meli, J., Mordica, J., Montrosse, B., and Mooney, K. (2011). Measuring student engagement in upper elementary through high school: a description of 21 instruments. (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2011–No. 098). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast. Retrieved from

Top of Page