Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences

Fall is just around the corner and the school year is well under way, which means parent-teacher conferences are quickly approaching. The Arc often fields many questions from parents wondering how parent-teacher conferences work for students on an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Are there any differences from typical parent-teacher conferences? These are great questions.

A parent-teacher conference is in fact quite different than the IEP. Conferences are a forum to discuss your student and their current educational performance, based upon data review, classroom evidence, and end of unit tests. The IEP, on the other hand, is an annual process designed to identify needs, the necessary level of support, and to set academic goals to be worked on in the current year. For parents of students on an IEP, the parent-teacher conference is an opportunity to hear about their student’s progress in the general education curriculum (using appropriate modifications and/or accommodations) and to see specific assessment information about their performance.

There are several types of tests and assessments that may be mentioned at the parent-teacher conference. If you are not familiar with the tests, ask your teacher for information about how they pertain to your child and how they demonstrate either growth or lack of growth. These assessments range from formal standardized tests such as the TCAP to informal means of collecting information like observation, classroom work and end-of-unit assessments.

It’s important for all parents to inquire about their student’s performance throughout the school year and monitor their child’s progress. Beyond parent-teacher conferences and the IEP process, you should also make a point to check in regularly with both your child’s classroom teacher and the school’s case manager.

For additional information on the parent-teacher conference, please
click here
to download a tip sheet from the Harvard Family Research Project.

Happy conferencing!

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