Student Agency Supported by Visual Progress Trackers

Exploring Individualized Learning with Visual Progress Charts

How does a group of 7 teachers and 90 students experience the use of visual progress trackers in their self-directed classes? Do the progress trackers contribute to greater student agency?

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For more than a decade Leysin American School (LAS) has been exploring ways in which to shift responsibility for learning from the teachers to the students. Student agency is supported through an on-campus research center focused on self-regulation for both teachers and students. The center runs professional development programs, created a progressive middle school, and is currently running a microschool program, all of which had or have student agency as a central focus. In the past five years, much of the program development and execution has been influenced by an adoption of an agile mindset, borrowed from the business world. In the center’s latest initiative, a microschool for grades 8 to 12 called the LAS edge Program has been designed to support student agency.

In the 2020-2021 school year, seven teachers began the second year of the program with a commitment to student agency in the LAS edge classrooms. The goal was to release, in a significant way, the control of the curriculum, syllabus, and pacing to the students in order that they learn how to manage their own learning. One significant tool were visible progress trackers, used in different manners in all classes. For the first four weeks of school, the teachers recorded how they were using the visible progress tracker they had designed.

Implementation of the progress trackers varied, as did the perceived efficacy of the progress trackers to support student agency. More work is necessary to either realize the full benefit of the progress trackers or to shift to an alternate and more effective support system to support student agency.

Keywords: student agency, self-regulation, agile in education, agility, kanban