• Increasing student engagement, responsibility 

    and accountability for academic performance



    What is a Student-Led Conference?

    A student-led conference is a preplanned meeting in which students demonstrate responsibility for their academic performance by providing a review of their work for parents and teachers. The students lead the conference by presenting work samples and discussing their learning. Student-led conferences differ from the traditional parent/teacher conferences

    • Students participate in all stages of the conference. They prepare and organize work samples, use checklists to demonstrate new learning, reflect on prior performance, and plan next steps
    • Students lead the conversation to show what they have learned. They receive feedback from their parents and teachers about strengths and goals for improvement. Student-led conferences benefit students, parents, and teachers
    • Students take more ownership of their learning
    • Parents and students have open communication about school, after-school activities, and other important decisions in life
    • Teachers establish a stronger working relationship with parents and students

    What is the Role of the Teacher?

    Teachers help students prepare for the conference.

    Before the conference, teachers:

    • Guide students in the collection of work samples and review of learning goals.
    • Review learning goals.
    • Explain the conference as a learning process to parents & students.
    • Organize the conference area for successful communication between parent and student.
    • May set up a conferencing checklist to help guide students through the conference.

    During the conference, teachers:

    • Act as a guide, offer positive feedback and clarification, and answer questions,.
    • May identify new learning goals with students and parents. (secondary level)
    • May inquire about students’ long-term education and career goals (secondary level)
    • May set a date for a future meeting to address progress or concerns

    What is the Role of the Student?

    Students lead the conference.

    Before the conference, students:

    • Collect work samples to share with their parents
    • Review their work with the teacher and think about learning goals
    • Explain the benefit of the conference as a learning process to their parents

    During the conference, students:

    • Share and discuss learning with their parents
    • Identify strengths and learning goals with parents
    • Connect their learning to long-term career goals
    • Determine next steps to improve learning
    • Agree on the date of the next conference to address progress or concerns

    After the conference, students:

    • Discuss what they discovered about themselves as learners
    • Work on the next steps to improve learning

    What is the Role of Parents?

    Parents participate as active listeners and as advocates for their child.

    Before the conference, parents:

    • Encourage their child’s involvement in the learning process
    • Familiarize themselves with the conference process
    • Support their child’s review of learning goals for the student-led conference
    • Prepare a list of questions for discussion

    During the conference, parents:

    • Provide encouragement, praise, and reinforcement
    • Assist their child in identifying strengths and learning goals
    • Work with their child and teachers to determine the next steps for learning
    • Ask their child questions to guide them through self-reflection on performance
    • Agree on a date to review progress or areas of concern

    After the conference, parents:

    • Participate in the conference evaluation
    • Discuss the long-term value of their child’s engagement in learning
    • Continue to review new goals and the next steps for learning with their child


    In an effort to make student-led conferences as beneficial as possible, below is a list of questions to ask your child as you sit down and review his/her work together.

    1. Why do you think you received this grade for this work?

    2. Was this grade a fair assessment of the work you did?

    3. How much time did you devote to this project/paper?

    4. What would you say is your best/worst subject?

    5. What do you enjoy the most/least about this subject?

    6. Do you participate in class discussions and activities?

    7. Do you interact with your teacher well?

    8. Is there something you wish your teacher knew about you?

    9. Do you work well with a partner?

    10. Are there times when you prefer to work alone?

    11. What strengths or weaknesses do you bring to group projects?


    Conversation after the conference…

    1. I am pleased to see your effort in…

    2. I am proud of your improvement in…

    3. I know you sometimes have difficulty with…, however…

    4. I would like you to focus on…

    5. I can help you by