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Students still struggle to feel they belong at school, study shows

Posted at 12:27 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 14:27:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY — As the new school year approaches, a new study from a Utah-based company shows a lot of students are still struggling to feel like they belong.

Qualtrics asked around 1,000 high school students across the country how connected they feel to peers, teachers, and school staff members. Nearly half the students, 49 percent, said they feel a part of their school community, which is critical to their experience.

"In an education setting specifically, it’s a critical component of school culture that supports social and emotional learning, which we know is really important for student academic success, as well as student well being," said Katie Johnson, principal research analyst for education at Qualtrics

The study also found that more than a quarter of the participants said they had been bullied, but only 34 percent admitted to feeling comfortable going to a teacher or adult at school about bullying incidents.

In addition, researchers say a sense of belonging impacts the success of a school since it's more likely to retain students.

"Student enrollment can be tied to funding. And so it's important for schools to think about retaining students year over year," added Johnson. "It's also really important from a student's success perspective, so changing schools can be a good thing, but it can also be disruptive to student development and student learning."

The Qualtrics study also found the sense of belonging among students was lower at public schools rather than private or charter schools.