Monday, 23 March 2015

4 ways to measure meaningful student involvement in the improvement of your school

Student voice, student agency, student representation are terms used to describe the spectrum of student oriented activities in our schools. The documented benefits of meaningful student involvement are wide-ranging from increased engagement to the development of leadership skills. We all recognize the benefits and strive to grow the practice but how meaningful is it and what can we use to measure student involvement? 

I have used the following tools and activities to help our school firstly define what student involvement looks and sounds like presently and secondly to introduce activities that will bring more meaning to student voice and agency. 

1. Use the Ladder of Participation to promote robust discussion and to gauge your school rung level. 

2. Use the Spectrum of Student Voice Oriented Activity Model to brainstorm the student activities in your school under the 6 headings. What does this exercise reveal?

3. Try - train students to carry out learning walks, analyse the data and report back to students and teachers.

4. Try - Senior students organise and run a pecha kucha information type evening for parents sharing their learning programmes and innovations/initiatives. Sharing curriculum programmes is more powerful from the voice of the students and seems to get a better buy in and attendance.

A left field idea I would like to try:
We know peer teaching has a powerful effect on learning (Hattie, Visible Learning). When students have to teach others and immediately use their learning the average retention rate is 90%. By including opportunities for the production of student flipped lessons across disciplines culminating in a student developed Khan Academy style site for the school we would not only benefit the learner as they teach their new knowledge or skill but also encourage peer learning another powerful learning tool.

Empowering students as leaders of change in meaningful ways will ensure respectful relationships and positive school improvements. So, how meaningful is student involvement in your school? 


  1. These are all great tools, Lyn. I really appreciate your commitment to ensuring our learners' voices are heard and that they are part of the conversation around how to ensure our school is the best it can be.

    1. Thanks Bridget, student voice and agency at SHS is a growing and empowering force that all staff honour and encourage on a daily basis.

  2. Why not simply use the tools I've created for schools focused on Meaningful Student Involvement, Lyn? I've made different versions for different purposes, all available free at!