Student success is positively linked to engagement, but negatively linked to emotional exhaustion. Though both constructs have been conceptualized as opposites previously, we hypothesize that students can demonstrate high or low engagement and emotional exhaustion simultaneously. We used quantitative and qualitative data to identify the existence of four student profiles based on engagement and exhaustion scores. Furthermore, we studied how profiles associate to study behaviour, wellbeing and academic achievement, and what risks, protective factors and support requirements students and teachers identify for these profiles.
The Student Wellbeing Monitor 2021, developed by Inholland University of Applied Sciences, was used to identify profiles using quadrant analyses based on high and low levels of engagement and emotional exhaustion (n= 1460). Correlation analyses assessed profile specific differences on study behaviours, academic delay, and wellbeing. Semi-structured interviews with students and teachers are currently in progress to further explore the profiles, to identify early signals, and to inspect support requirements.
The quadrant analysis revealed four profiles: low engagement and low exhaustion (energised-disengaged; 9%), high engagement and low exhaustion (energised-engaged; 15%), low engagement and high exhaustion (exhausted-disengaged; 48%), and high engagement and high exhaustion (exhausted-engaged; 29%). Overall, engaged students demonstrated more active study behaviours and more social connections and interactions with fellow students and teachers. The exhausted students scored higher on depressive symptoms and stress. The exhausted-engaged students reported the highest levels of performance pressure, while the energised-disengaged students had the lowest levels of performance pressure. So far, students and teachers recognise the profiles and have suggested several support recommendations for each profile.
The results show that students can be engaged but at the same time are exhausting themselves. A person-oriented mixed-methods approach helps students and teachers gain awareness of the diversity and needs of students, and improve wellbeing and student success.