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What did you learn? vs. What did you earn?

posted: Fri, Jul 7th, 2017

What did you learn? vs. What did you earn?

During MOMS’ recently completed student-led conferences, the conversations focused on information and skills learned, not on the grades earned. That’s a marked difference from traditional parent-teacher conferences which generally focus on performance and assessment.

The student-led conferences, held for the second consecutive year, provided an opportunity for parents to see how their children have grown intellectually since September. By reviewing portfolios of work the students had compiled, which typically included items such as science labs, essays, and math homework, parents could clearly see what was learned over the past 10 months of the school year and see the actual progress of their children.

Encouraging and facilitating a dialogue, though, is at the core of the conferences and parents were guided through a set of questions that helped their children reflect and self-analyze. The process, especially when done at the culmination of the school year, inspires students to consider the importance of what they’ve learned and how they’ve grown.

It also helps kids understand how one piece of learning provided the foundation for the one after it, everything building to what they know now. And they’re able to see their strengths and weaknesses – and articulate them. 

"Teachers worked incredibly hard with students to help them select representative work samples to showcase in the portfolios," said Patricia Padula, MOMS’ student achievement specialist who coordinated the conferences. "Their efforts could be seen at every table where students were able to describe and demonstrate mastery of the different subjects." 

This year, student projects involving STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) were on display in the school library during the conferences. Visiting parents were encouraged to check out the exhibit after reviewing their children’s portfolios.

More than 400 parents participated in the student-led conferences.

Mount Olive Middle School
160 Wolfe Road Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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Phone: 973.691.4006 Fax: 973.691.4029

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