New research and initiatives highlight the importance of agency for young adult success
In 2015, the UChicago Consortium’s Foundations for Young Adult Success developmental framework synthesized decades of theory, research, and wisdom from practice, to capture a holistic view of children’s developmental needs from early childhood to young adulthood. This framework identified the critical role that agency—the belief and ability to take an active role in shaping one’s path—plays at the heart of successful young adulthood. Inspired by this foundational research, the UChicago Charter School is developing new strategies to improve student agency as part of its mission-critical work to nurture leadership in all students. With more details from the pilot set to be revealed at the SXSWedu conference in March 2017, the charter school is developing tools to help educators monitor and support individual students in developing a strong sense of agency from as early as second grade through high school by tracking how often a student partakes in leadership activities such as leading a team or participating in activities inside and outside of the classroom.
Why It Matters
Mounting evidence points to the critical role that a sense of agency plays in student success, but growing up in marginalized communities adds to the complexity and challenges of developing into a young adult who is poised for success. Intentionally focusing on nurturing students’ sense of agency using new tools and strategies like those UChicago Charter is developing can help educators systematically support all students in cultivating the foundational mindsets and beliefs—not just academic skills—they need to succeed.