Shanghai United International School, Pudong conducted student-led conferences for the first time on Tuesday 11 April at the end of the second round of assessments.  Students and teachers prepare thoroughly for the conferences and students, in particular, look forward to sharing their portfolios with their parents.  This is a unique opportunity for parents to gain insightful understanding of their child’s learning.

For those who may be new to this procedure, the student-led conference process empowers the student to direct and report on his/her progress at school. It is a research-based practice used in many schools all over the world. Teachers are trained to assist, direct, and support students throughout the preparation process. Students are coached, critiqued, and evaluated by teachers in order to be ready to present to their parents and guardians. In short, the students will run the show.

During the conference process, students will report on academic progress, articulate goals, report on assessment data when appropriate, and share examples of their work. They will present samples from all of their classes. To aid them the students prepare a portfolio of work that does not necessarily reflect their best work, but work that helped them learn the best.

The student-led conference process is different from the traditional parent teacher conference in which the teachers do most of the talking and the parent does the listening. Often in such conferences, the student is not even present. The role of the teachers in the student-led conferences is one of coach, mentor, and advocate. Several conferences could be taking place at one time within the same room. The teachers will circulate and be present to help answer questions that the students may not be able to answer.

The student-led conference process puts the responsibility for reporting learning where it needs to be and that is with the student. The learning that is happening at SUIS, Pudong is much enhanced by Student Led Conferences and students are eager to present their progress to their parents.