Text version - Developing student agency through STEM learning

Journey summary

Developing student agency through STEM learning, using project-based learning pedagogy to give students voice and choice, feedback and evaluation of their learning.

Journey focus area

Developing student agency through STEM learning.

Timeline and milestones

2014-2015 milestones
  • School identified that students saw learning as a passive activity.  Students believed that ‘good learners’ displayed sitting up straight, not talking and finishing work.
  • Initiatives developed and implemented through the 2015-17 school planning cycle.
  • Using project-based learning pedagogy in the classroom, increasing STEM integration across the curriculum by developing school processes and strategies to improve student agency in their learning.
  • Stage 3 teachers and leadership team engaged in professional learning and developed a strategic plan for implementation across the school.
2016 milestones

Stage 3 ‘lighthouse’ team of seven teachers and classes began this journey.

Student agency developed through:

  • student goal setting,
  • student led conferences,
  • students given voice and choice in their learning and presentation of learning products
  • self and peer assessment and learning conventions,
  • sharing the learning process and learning product with the school community.

STEM integrated curriculum developed to build and apply students’ STEM knowledge and skills.
Project-based learning pedagogy used by teachers to develop contextually relevant learning experiences that focus on building students’ critical and creative thinking, communication and collaboration skills.
K-4 teachers engaged in professional learning led by school leadership team and Stage 3 teachers to prepare for 2017.

2017 milestones
  • All K-6 students are engaged in STEM integrated curriculum throughout the year.
  • The school was selected as a Primary STEM Action School, to mentor and support primary schools in an integrated STEM curriculum, including delivering professional learning to teachers and leaders from other schools.
  • Student agency developed K-6 with all 520 students setting learning goals and leading their own student led conferences.
  • Students learn through project-based learning pedagogy, where they have voice and choice in their learning, engage in self and peer assessment, provide and use feedback to improve learning and share their learning with a public audience.
2018 milestones
  • The whole school continues to focus on developing student agency in their learning, through embedding processes throughout the school to ensure that all students are learning ‘how to learn’.
  • STEM learning is a focus area with staff continuing to mentor new teachers to the school and staff from other schools.

Positive impact

  • Increase in sustained student engagement in learning within and beyond the classroom.
    Student agency in learning has seen more students demonstrating higher levels of attainment.
  • Greater school community engagement as experts in chosen fields to support student learning.
  • Greater parent engagement in their child’s learning through communication of learning and attendance at Learning Conventions.
  • Contextual programs are developed by teachers to suit syllabus requirements and student needs and interests, building deep understanding of curriculum with staff.
  • Students have developed curriculum skills through real world application.
  • Students have a deeper understanding of curriculum knowledge.


Students: excited about their learning, curious, focused, open to new ideas and experiences.

Teachers: energised, enjoying the challenge, uncomfortable, courageous.

Main challenges and solutions

Students were used to having learning highly scaffolded and being passive in their learning.  To make the transition smoother, teachers have gradually released ownership to students, explicitly teaching skills through modelling and guiding them through to independence.

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