There is no broad consensus on the definition of student agency. Many different words are used to describe the concept, and sometimes the same words are used to describe different concepts.
That said, by looking across researchers, practitioners, and other thought leaders, common elements arise that begin to suggest a consensus.
From these sources, the dust seems to settle on a concept of ‘student agency’ that involves four distinct components. The first three are temporally linked covering future, present, and past:
- Setting advantageous goals (future);
- Initiating action toward those goals (present); and
- Reflecting on and regulating progress toward those goals (past).
Several sources also agree on a fourth dimension, that underpins the others -- a belief in self-efficacy.
That is, whether one believes they can (or cannot) act with agency actually impacts usefulness of that agency.