The Power of Student Agency: Looking Beyond Grit to Close the Opportunity Gap


Rhetoric’s of grit and determination surround discourses of student resiliency. While grit is necessary to overcome inevitable obstacles on the road to success, it is quite dependent on agency. Those without the free will to choose their own fate face limits on their ability to be successful, regardless of their grit. This book encompasses reflections of the unique academic experiences of 50 low-income students of colour and highlights named supports – such as school, family, faith, and mentorship – that foster agency. Kundu emphasizes a gap in opportunity, not achievement, and reflects on how equitable learning and success can be given to all students, especially those who are underprivileged.

Suggested Citation

Kundu, A. (2020). The power of student agency: Looking beyond grit to close the opportunity gap. Teachers College Press.


Anindya Kundu


Teachers College Press


Resilience (Psychology), Well Being, At Risk Students, Student Characteristics, Academic Persistence, Social Support Groups, Cultural Capital, Social Capital, Psychology, Disadvantaged Youth

Publication Date

17 July 2020

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