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Transcript of Student-Led Conferences
"When students are well prepared over an extended period to tell the story of their own success (or lack thereof), they seem to experience a fundamental shift in their internal sense of responsibility for
that success. The pride in accomplishment that students feel when they have positive story to tell and tell it well can be immensely motivational. The sense of personal responsibility that they feel when anticipating what it will be like to face the music of having to tell their story of poor achievement can also drive them to productive work."
Rich Stiggins, Phi Delta Kappan, November 1999.
Longer time -
Opportunities for goal setting
Samples of work
10 Good Reasons to Implement Student-Led Conferencing
in Our School
• Opens up communication between school and
• Practices real life-skills - communication,
organization, leadership, etc.
• Teaches self-evaluation, self-reflection skills
• Focuses on learning
• Goal setting process has buy-in by all involved
Organizing for the
• When to hold? Match time to purpose
– Fall - goal setting for the year
– Spring - culmination of year - future plans
As the Teacher
Early in the school year
• Design work that emphasizes
multiple skills and processes
addresses state/local curriculum standards
processes as well as quality of product
examples of "real work", not work contrived for show
• Teach and practice the skills required for self-reflection
• Collect work in portfolios or other long-term storage system
Preparing Teachers for the Conference
• What to teach
Best Choices: (focus on skills/process)
-Including all drafts
-Including hypothesis, lab notes and findings
-Including process, solution and proof
-Designing house plans
-Including summary as well as review of author’s style
-Including notes and student created product
Physical Fitness summary
-Including pre and post skills and growth over time
• Increase in parent
• All teachers involved in the
• High Accountability
• Learning atmosphere
• Student Accountability
• Opportunity to see work
• Motivates students
• See all the parents
Con’t: 10 Good Reasons to Implement Student-
Led Conferencing in Our School
• Easier scheduling - easily accommodates late arrivals, walk-ins
• Provides quality time between parent and child
• Less stress on teacher during conference days
• Students are the center of the conference
• How many to hold at a time?
– 3 - 4
– Large group
• Decide upon scheduling process
– Create master schedule
– Scheduling Siblings
– Who schedules
– How to handle absences, students unsure of time
Decide on overall organization plan
– By individual teacher
– By team
Within a few weeks of the conference
• Help your students sort through their classroom work and choose examples for the conference
• Ask students to review self-reflections of chosen work and complete a summary reflection of work to date
• Complete a cover sheet that will rate identified study and/or citizenship skills
• Help students practice sharing their work from your subject area
Less Effective Work Samples:(focus on single skills)
• Spelling tests
• Answers to chapter questions
• Mathematics timed test
• Multiple choice tests
• Collection of Student Work
• File folders to hanging crates to file cabinets
Selecting Work to Present
• How many pieces of work per subject area?
• Who selects work?
• Teacher Selected
• Student Selected
• Shared Decision
Design and teach self-reflections:
Assessing a performance against a standard in order to judge the quality of the performance.
Use of a state scoring guide
Teacher's previously set criteria for assignment
Other performance standards
The focus is to help students understand the learning process and to teach them to assess themselves as a learner. It encourages honest recognition of strengths, areas to work on, and the setting of future goals.
Responding to highly specific questions in writing
Drawing a picture or webbing a process
Making a graph of effort, satisfaction, interest and value
Letters to teacher or self
Checklists or charts
Class discussions, one-on-one conferencing
Journal or learning log entries
We must constantly remind ourselves that the ultimate purpose of
evaluation is to enable students to evaluate themselves.”
Art Costa, 1989
Sample Questions for Self-Reflections:
o What makes this your best piece?
o Why did you select this piece of work for your portfolio?
o If you could work further on this piece, what would you do?
o How is your work now different from your work at the beginning of the year?
o What skills have you learned from doing this piece?
o What did you find most challenging about this project?
Different Formats for Self-Reflections:
o Draw a picture representation of the process you used to complete this work.
o Ask other class members to comment on your performance. Summarize their
ideas. Which will you implement and why?
o Make a graph that shows the amount of effort, satisfaction, interest, and value
you gained from doing this project.
o Write a letter to yourself pretending you are the teacher and explain why you
earned the grade you received.
Make a table of contents:
Letter to Parent/Other Adult
Core Cover Sheets
Elective Cover Sheet(s)
MAP scores (growth?)
PLAN scores (10th gr.)
Goals for Success
Writing a “Dear Parent” Letter
tool to use as an “ice breaker”
welcomes parents to the conference, tells the about the contents of the
portfolio, and explains what they will be sharing with them during
creative, expressive, and personalized
Dear Mother and Father,
Thank you for coming to my student led conference. I have worked on many projects this trimester and have done my work with better organization.
My favorite piece of work is my coffee-stained book cover. I like it because I spent a lot of time and put a lot of hard work into it. My next
favorite is band because I'm doing a good job on the French horn.
Again, I'm glad you came to my conference. I hope it lets you see all of the things I do in school (only the good things I hope).
At the end of this conference I have two goals written. It would be nice if you would write a third one with me.
Dealing with Missing Work Samples
Student Name: ______________
Teacher Name: ____________
Assignment Title: ______________ Subject: ______________
Assignment Due Date: ___________________________
I was given the opportunity to do this work but either did not
complete it or turn it in because:
Design/Teach the script
Examples of scripts -- Follow the order
• Introduce your parents or guardian to your case manager.
• Explain you will be sharing your fall portfolio during the conference.
• Briefly review the Table of Contents to give an overview of what is in your
• Read your “Dear Parent” letter.
• Present your work.
– For each piece share:
» What the assignment was
» What knowledge or skills you learned by doing it
» What process you went through to complete the piece
» Key portions of your self-reflection by reading them aloud
• Share your report card with your parents.
• Goal Setting
» Explain the goals you have set
» Write a goal with your parents
• Parent homework letter
» Thank your parents for attending your conference
Before and During the Conference
• Set up room with "stations" appropriate for conferencing
• Meet and greet parents
• Give quick overview of process, help student and parent(s) "settle" in, and
move out of the area
• Monitor progress of conference from a distance.
• Return to conference around the goal setting piece. Offer suggestions if
• Help close the conference, ask for questions, hand out feedback forms,
notes, etc., encourage parents to use the drop in time
• Sit back and enjoy the process!
THANK YOU for participating in your child's conference…now you have
some homework! Please write your child a positive personal note about the conference. Below are some areas you might think about including as you
What I noticed about your work was…
I was proud of you for…
Keep up the good work on…
I know you have difficulty sometimes but…
I'm glad you are making an extra effort in…
How can I help you…
We hope this experience was as rewarding to you and your child as the
process was to us! Thanks again for taking the extra effort!
in Your School
Middle Level Services
National Association of Secondary School Principals