Student agency in education places more of the responsibility and accountability of learning in the hands of the students to significantly impact student achievement. In April of 2017, the American Institutes of Research conducted a study titled, "Maximizing Student Agency: Implementing and Measuring Student-Centered Learning Practices," whose purpose was "to identify the instructional practices that may be useful for the development of different aspects of student agency" (Zieser, K., Scholz, C., & Cirks, V., p. 1, 2018). Participants of this research study, both students and teacher, identify as part-Native Hawaiian, an underserved and underrepresented population in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. This research study uses the findings and methods of Zieser, et al, to develop student agency as a means of supporting student application and implementation of design thinking in his/her competency-based personal student curricula. In this, the first year of a planned four-year study, researchers collect baseline data of study participants self-efficacy, perseverance of interest, perseverance of effort, locus of control, mastery orientation, meta-cognitive self-regulation, self-regulated learning, and future orientation. Additionally, it implements networked improvement community protocols of teacher promotion of student agency. Data collected from these protocols will be analyzed as indicated in the original study. Findings and conclusions from this first year will be used to adjust future years' research methods.
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