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ERIC Number: ED535466
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 198
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-6838-0
The Effectiveness of Parent-Teacher Conferences for Reporting Student Progress in a Suburban Pennsylvania School District
Seagreaves, Peter
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Widener University
Parent-teacher conferences have been used by school districts across the country to report student progress since the 1930s. A review of the literature revealed that there are many benefits to be gained from conferences. Some of these benefits include: the sharing of information (by parents and teachers) to further the child's academic and social development, establishing a good relationship between the home and school and providing an opportunity for face-to-face meetings where teachers can clarify the meaning of grades, explain curricula and clear up possible misunderstandings. Some researchers, however, claim that parents and teachers dread these face-to-face meetings and thus engage in a subtle bargain with one another in which they exchange pleasantries in order to avoid conflicts. As a result, parent-teacher conferences become merely ceremonial encounters void of meaningful dialogue. Given this conflicting view of parent-teacher conferences and the amount of time devoted to preparing for and participating in this long standing practice, it is important for school administrators to evaluate their conference programs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the parent-teacher conference program in one Pennsylvania school district in order to determine its effectiveness, as well as participants' satisfaction with the current program. Specifically, the study investigated whether parents and teachers were satisfied with current parent-teacher conferences in regards to their frequency (one conference per year), time of year and time of day. The study also examined parents' expectations of what should be discussed at a conference and whether these expectations were met. A third question addressed parents and teachers' interest in having students participate in conferences as active participants. Two questionnaires designed to measure parents' and teachers' responses toward selected aspects of parent-teacher conferences were developed for this study. Surveys were mailed to 636 randomly selected parents of students in grades one to six. A total of 313 parents completed and returned surveys. All 115 elementary classroom teachers in the district (grades one to six) were asked to complete the teacher survey. A total of 84 teachers completed and returned surveys. Results of this study revealed that two-thirds of the surveyed parents were satisfied with the current conference format. Parents expressed a need for child care, more time per conference, as well as evening conferences. They were in favor of a second conference in the spring and parents of older students expressed an interest in student-led conferences. Overall, parents were quite satisfied with the conferences they attended. Teachers also expressed a need for more time for conferences as well as evening conferences to accommodate working parents. Teachers were not as interested as parents in including students as conference participants. One-hundred percent of teacher participants indicated overall satisfaction with the conferences in which they participated. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania