Conferences are a way to share information about student achievements. There are a few conference options presented in the book:
- Offer feedback about student achievement
- Set goals
- Communicate progress
- Demonstrate competence
- Feedback Conference: This is when a teacher gets together with one or two students at a time and offer feedback about their progress/performance. They may have some sample work or even a test to have a point of discussion.
- Goal setting: This could be with students or parents or even both. This could be a short-term goal or a long-term goal. This could also be used to set behavior goals if that is something that needs to be addressed.
- Progress: This can also be done with students and/or parents. Parents will probably expect to have conferences about their child’s progress. This could be done with report cards and/or student work samples.
- Showcase: This is for the students to show their achievements. Portfolios will be useful with this kind of conference.
- Intervention: This is when there’s a concern with a student’s progress.
If a student is to be involved in a conference, where they are to make some sort of presentation, it is important that they are prepared for this throughout the year. The book strongly promotes student involvement in the assessment process so if students are well-versed in their progress and achievement, you could have a successful conference with student involvement.
Another important aspect of conference is preparation and knowing exactly what the purpose of the conference is and planning it accordingly. This is something I had not thought about. My conferences are usually with some notes that I want to remember and addressing any concerns the parents may have. But, I can see how knowing the ‘why’ of the conference and preparing materials accordingly will help with having a successful conference that will benefit student progress. This is the same with student conference – having a clear purpose in mind before conferencing with the students will definitely make it more effective.