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.
From these sources, the dust seems to settle on a concept of “student agency” that involves four distinct components. The first three are temporally linked covering future, present, and past:
• Setting advantageous goals
• Initiating action toward those goals
• Reflecting on and regulating progress toward those goals