Determining Contextual Support for Individual and Collective Agency in Pre-K – 3rd Classrooms

9/1/2022 – 8/31/2024


For the past 14 years, the Principal Investigator, Dr. Jennifer Keys Adair, along with colleagues and students, has been researching the social, cultural, linguistic, physical, intellectual, and academic capabilities that expand when young children can use their agency to learn at school. This research aims to increase the types and amount of agency young children from BIPOC communities can enact at school. One result is a tool, Markers of Agency (MOA) that measures agency at classroom and school levels. This Brady Education Foundation funded project will conduct a cultural validation study of the MOA tool with five linguistically, racially, geographically, and economically diverse communities in California, New York, Minnesota, Washington, and Texas. It uses comparative, multi-vocal video-cued ethnography to determine whether and how the Markers of Agency (MOA) tool – the first agency-measurement tool for early childhood learning contexts – is sustainable and desirable in a range of cultural communities. The goal is to better understand how educators and leaders recognize and support children’s agency so that the MOA tool can support their efforts to improve educational experiences and build on children’s existing capabilities. The major outcome of this study will be a tool that measures contextual support of children’s agency that is culturally valid and builds instructional and administrative capacity to support children’s agency in pre-K – 3rd classrooms serving BIPOC communities. The PI is Dr. Jennifer Keys Adair of The University of Texas at Austin.