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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Parent-teacher conferences : a descriptive study of student, parent and teacher opinions MacDonald, Barry A.


This study surveyed students, parents and teachers on a variety of matters that bear directly on the parent-teacher conference as a process of reporting pupil progress. To this end 669 pupils from grades 4, 7 and 10; 298 of their parents; and 101 of their elementary and secondary teachers (from a British Columbian school district covering rural and urban areas) responded to the questionnaires. Its primary purpose was to survey and to describe pupil, parent and teacher perceptions and feelings about a number of dimensions of communication between the three parties about pupil performance at school; and to explore the data for patterns that might indicate matters upon which efforts could be focussed for the improvement of communication and collaboration between the parties. The latter instruments were constructed specifically for the purposes of the investigation and yielded the data collected. Gender, grade level, perceived best and worst grades and school (French Immersion and degrees of socio-cultural advantage or disadvantage) were variables analyzed for students. Parent responses were analyzed by gender, total number of school-aged children and school. Years of teaching experience, educational level, school and gender were analyzed for teachers. Aggregate descriptive results indicated on average that while 40% of students, 52% of parents and 51% of teachers were comfortable with the parent-teacher conference, 40% of students and parents and 30% of teachers reported discomfort or dissatisfaction with matters pertaining to parent-teacher conferences. The following issues were identified and discussed: (a) communication skills in-servicing for teachers; (b) time length for conferences; (c) provision of receiving assistance to parents for discussion of student performance with pupils; and (d) alternate conference formats (e.g., student-led conference).

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