Students as Leaders of Their Own Learning

As you look at the EPS Parthenon for Personalized Learning, if you are anything like me, you might feel a tad overwhelmed. So instead, take a deep breath, give yourself some grace and just focus on one component….try, for example, the Parthenon’s foundation, specifically Student Agency.

First of all, what is it?  Well, the  EPS Essentials of Personalized Learning includes the following explanation of student agency:  student voice and choice is supported by opportunities to learn and continually increase their ability to independently engage in the design and direction of their learning. Students connect interests, needs, and cultures to what they are learning; set goals for their individual learning and reflect on their own progress.

How do we encourage this type agency in our kiddos? Ultimately, we want to see our students as Leaders of Their Own Learning, but what are the next steps in this venture? One such step might be student-engaged assessment. Ron Berger offers the following explanation about this type of assessment. It “involves students in understanding and investing in their own growth. It changes the primary role of assessment from evaluating and ranking students to motivating them to learn.” A mindset shift we, as educators, can make is to change our view of assessment, maybe think about the root meaning of the word assess… “to sit beside”.  As we think about this idea, we might find ourselves “sitting beside students, discussing with them the quality of their work and thinking, and their plans for growth and improvement.”  Sounds very much like student agency!


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