Among educators and in society in general, there is notable concern for the decline in students’ academic motivation, their increasing alienation, high dropout rates, the consumption of unhealthy substances, and the decline in both mental health and academic achievement. This concern corresponds to the finding that the lack of engagement in school is a persistent problem for a large number of students. The literature reveals consensus regarding engagement’s multiple components, and indicates that these can be influenced by both personal and contextual variables.

The current widespread financial crisis combines with paradigm shifts that compel a need to rethink educational institutions. Together they give increased importance to the creation of opportunities for reflection and analysis about education that focus on school engagement. The term “student engagement in school” (SES) has assumed greater centrality in education. Understood as the experience of the student’s centripetal connection to school in specific dimensions – cognition, affect, behaviour and agency (the student as an agent of action), it is a transdisciplinary concept that has been advanced as an answer to the problems of today’s schools.

This Congress will focus on finding answers to a number of interrelated problems: What is the contribution of research in Psychology and Education for the analysis of observed differences in student engagement? What do we know about engagement’s antecedents and its consequences? How can psychologists and educators best study the complexity that defines policies and practices of teaching and learning?

The main objectives of the Congress include: (a) dissemination of research findings on student engagement in school (SES); (b) analysis of educational practices that promote engagement in school; and (c) consideration of new lines of research. We will seek to contribute to the debate concerning the issues that arise around our basic research problem — in school, in the family and in society. In short, by emphasizing the research contributions from various disciplines, we hope to better understand the centripetal experiences involved in student connection to school, and how these impact a sense of personal achievement and social development of students both in school and later in life.

Feliciano H. Veiga, CIEAE Coordinator