What is student agency–and why do we need it?

It’s only recently that I’ve become much more disciplined in my use of the term “student agency” and how I apply it.

Thanks to a research assignment on behalf of the Center for Innovation in Education’s Assessment for Learning Project, I’ve learned that the term—and related terms, such as “self-regulated learning”—has a rich lineage of researchers and practitioners who have carefully defined it.

By looking across researchers (1), practitioners, and other thought leaders (2), common elements arise that begin to suggest a consensus.…Read More

What is student agency–and why do we need it?

It’s only recently that I’ve become much more disciplined in my use of the term “student agency” and how I apply it.

Thanks to a research assignment on behalf of the Center for Innovation in Education’s Assessment for Learning Project, I’ve learned that the term—and related terms, such as “self-regulated learning”—has a rich lineage of researchers and practitioners who have carefully defined it.

By looking across researchers (1), practitioners, and other thought leaders (2), common elements arise that begin to suggest a consensus.…Read More

TC- What student choice and agency actually looks like

Student agency, which we might loosely define as students’ ability to influence their own learning, undoubtedly plays a critical role in education.

Many schools and districts see the value in it, but it has often been difficult to achieve. Shifting to an approach where each student directs their own learning — rather than the traditional teacher-led approach — does not happen overnight. The mere idea can be intimidating, and figuring out ways to develop ownership through teaching and learning practices compounds the challenge.

There are, however, a variety of schools using blended learning to increase student agency, and many of their practices have been captured and shared through The Learning Accelerator’s Blended and Personalized Practices at Work site. Understanding more about how other schools are empowering their students through choice and agency can make the idea less intimidating and the challenge of implementation less complex.…Read More

What student choice and agency actually looks like

Student agency, which we might loosely define as students’ ability to influence their own learning, undoubtedly plays a critical role in education.

Many schools and districts see the value in it, but it has often been difficult to achieve. Shifting to an approach where each student directs their own learning — rather than the traditional teacher-led approach — does not happen overnight. The mere idea can be intimidating, and figuring out ways to develop ownership through teaching and learning practices compounds the challenge.

There are, however, a variety of schools using blended learning to increase student agency, and many of their practices have been captured and shared through The Learning Accelerator’s Blended and Personalized Practices at Work site. Understanding more about how other schools are empowering their students through choice and agency can make the idea less intimidating and the challenge of implementation less complex.…Read More

This innovative district lets students choose how to learn

A district offers students 6 instructional models—an approach that has led to zero dropouts

choose-learningTo hear Taylor County Schools Assistant Superintendent Charles Higdon tell it, students shouldn’t be allowed to drop out of school—at least not without a fight.

“We have implemented a ‘zero dropout’ policy that does not allow students to drop out of our district,” he said. But rather than imprisoning students in front-facing classrooms, the rural Kentucky district is instead trying to entice at-risk, and even low-risk, students to enjoy their education through a series of innovative and distinct learning pathways–informally called “spokes.”

Students in Taylor County can actually choose how they want to learn from among six instructional models, including traditional, online, peer-led, and project-based learning. This highly student-centered approach has resulted in a 100-percent graduation rate within the district over the last few years, say administrators.…Read More