Maximizing Student Agency: Implementation of Student-Centered Learning Approaches

By American Institutes for Research

American Institutes for Research (AIR) conducted this study as part of the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative’s initial cycle of research. The team at AIR worked alongside fellow scholars, educators, and policymakers to investigate the impact of specific student-centered practices and then translate their findings for cross-sector audiences.

AIR’s final report, Maximizing Student Agency: Implementation of Student-Centered Learning Approaches, represents their work over the past two years as they designed, tested, and revised teacher practices as part of a networked improvement community and examined how student agency impacted academic outcomes.

Research Questions
  • What practices do teachers employ to provide feedback to students on their performance that assist with the development of student agency?
  • What contextual factors do teachers view as facilitators of or challenges to implementing these practices?
  • How well do student survey questions measure student agency?
  • Were the measurement properties of the agency scales consistent over time and across student subgroups?
  • Are there significant subgroup differences in measures of student agency?
  • How does student agency change during the school year?
  • Do changes in student agency during the school year differ between subgroups of students?
  • How do teachers use data to inform their practices?
Key Findings
  • Teachers participating in a Network Improvement Community reaped concrete and actionable benefits that allowed them to make data-informed changes to their instructional practice — changes that benefited students.
  • Networks work. Systems-leaders and funders who provide educators with opportunities to participate in Network Improvement Communities can be confident that the outcomes will drive innovation.

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