two students smiling

Areas of Impact

Professional Development

Age Group

High school and middle school


5-20 minutes


Daily, weekly


Print Materials

Student Agency Rubric

academic strategies, academic habits, self awareness

When I identify the specific skills and habits my students need for school success, I can explicitly teach & support their development.


This learning rubric identifies specific noncognitive skills and habits that supports students’ success throughout their education. Because it enumerates the full range of these skills, this rubric is a centerpiece of classroom learning and can be used in many ways, including at a Student-Led Conference.


Our Gateway Middle School teachers explicitly teach students all parts of this rubric. But to do so, we focus on specific sections over the course of the school year. Students are taught what each skill entails for their grade level, and that skill is reinforced over days, weeks and months. Students learn to reflect on their progress using the rubric in weekly Do Now/Exit Ticket Reflections. Then specific sections receive more attention based on the current learning objectives of a unit. For example, during a group project, the collaboration and community skills section is emphasized. Final assessment of student work then addresses mastery of both the learning process as well as the content knowledge in that subject.

A school or department might adapt this rubric to emphasize the skills and habits they want to emphasize with their students. And from there, a whole school conversation can be created around teaching both the academic and supporting non-cognitive skills for student success by integrating them in both lesson and long-term planning documents. Learn more with our adapted Backwards Planning Document.


Before using this resource, be sure to identify which specific skills and habits you are focusing on.  In the beginning this document is too overwhelming for students to process all at once. Instead, divide it up into sections and explicitly teach what those skills looks like in your class and for students’ developmental age.

Remember that repetition is key!  Daily and weekly reference to the skills is essential for students to incorporate them into their practice. We use a 6-week rule to think about students developing habits.  That is, in general students need to regularly practice something for 6 weeks before they effectively can do something independently. (And of course, some students need less time, while others needs more!) During this practice time, frequent self-reflection on their progress helps build student agency.

Even after students have achieved independence in a specific habit, as they grow and take on new challenges, they often need reminders of the toolbox they bring to those challenges. This is especially true for the “Academic Strategies” section, which can be built out for different subject areas. Students benefit from going back to an honest appraisal of their growth. We do this in Student-Led Conferences.

Finally, remember that less is more as we develop habits. Taking on too many skills at once is hard for both students and teachers to monitor. Choose the most important areas to focus on first, then build out from there.