Student Voice Tip Sheet This SoundOut original tip sheet offers practical considerations for students and educators as they engage student voice throughout education. Order Print Version

What is Student Voice?

Student Voice is the individual and collective perspective and actions of young people within the context of learning and education.


This can include, but isn't limited to, active or passive participation, knowledge, voting, wisdom, activism, beliefs, service, opinions, leadership, and ideas. Student Voice reflects identity, and comes from a person's experiences, ideals, and knowledge.


Student Voice is Not the Same as...

  • Meaningful student involvement, which is a process for engaging students as partners in school improvement for the sake of education, community, and democracy.

  • Student engagement, which is the excitement and investment a young person feels towards learning

  • Pupil consultation, which is a systematic process for listening to students' opinions about school.

  • Student participation, which is a self-determined act of students committing to something in school.

Student Voice is About Outcomes.

A growing body of evidence surrounds Student Voice, as more students, educators and researchers identify powerful outcomes.


What Can Student Voice Positively Affect?

  • School improvement goals

  • Academic achievement

  • The "engagement gap"

  • Students' feelings of agency

  • Drop out rates
  • Retention of students of color
  • Curricular effectiveness
  • Teachers' feelings of efficacy


Student Voice is About People.

Any person who participates in a process of learning, including every single student in every classroom in any grade, has a voice that should be engaged in schools.


Who Can Share Student Voice?

  • Pre-kindergarten students

  • Elementary students

  • Junior high/Middle school students

  • High school students

  • Students of color

  • Low-income students

  • Low-achieving students

  • High-performing students

  • ESL/ELL students

  • Special needs students

  • Gifted students


Every adult working in education effectively has authority over students. This gives every adult the moral responsibility to listen to Student Voice.


Who Can Listen to Student Voice?

  • Students

  • Classroom teachers

  • Building leaders

  • School support staff

  • School board members

  • District and state school leaders

  • Education agency officials

  • Education policy-makers

  • Curriculum makers

  • Education researchers

  • Politicians


Student Voice is About Action.

Student Voice allows students to share who they are, what they believe, and why they believe what they do with their peers, parents, teachers, and their entire school. Student Voice can be engaged in dozens of ways in classrooms and schools.


Where Can Student Voice Be Heard?


Student Voice is About Process.

As the list above shows, there are dozens of ways to actually engage student voice in schools. However, there are five primary steps that every responsible educator should take when working to infuse Student Voice in their practice.


How Can Student Voice Be Heard?


For details see




A growing collection of resources awaits the interested Student Voice researcher. You can find dozens of organizations, hundreds of publications, and thousands of links throughout the SoundOut website for more information about Student Voice.



Definitions of Student Voice | Quotes about student voice | 50 Ways Adults Can Support Student Voice | Student Voice How Tos | Sources for Listening to Student Voice | Student Voice Organizations | Student Voice Library


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