Individual seating resulted in a much higher engagement level than round table seating, and students were much more engaged when the teacher assigned seats. When students got to select their own seats, engagement dropped—perhaps because they sat near friends and socialized, the authors suggest.
Researchers considered that Hispanics might prefer collaborative work because it allowed them to learn in their native language with other Spanish-speakers. The data did not support that hypothesis.
The study looked at the relationship of engagement to the students’ perception of the relevance of the material to college studies, everyday life, testing and a future job. Engagement was highest when students found the content related to everyday life.