Section 1: Introduction to the Study
Student learning and ways to involve them and their parents more in their learning has remained a challenge for educators. An exploration for increasing student learning and accountability has led educators to include students in the conference process. A way of including students in their academic performance and allowing them an opportunity to directly assess their classroom work has brought about a change from traditional parent-teacher conferences to student-led conferences (Borba and Olvera, 2001). As Borba and Olvera (2001) stated, “student-led conferences motivate students to think about and act on personal initiatives to improve learning” (p. 333). Borba and Olvera (2001) provided a parent summary of the benefits of student-led teacher-parent conferences: students take ownership of their learning; share with teachers the burden of explaining to their parents, if necessary, reasons for poor performance and behavior; all of the child’s teachers are available in one area for private conference, if necessary; parent attendance rates are significantly higher; and students are not left at home wondering exactly what their teachers had to say about them. The goal of this study is to analyze 8th grade minority and non-minority parent perceptions of student-led conferences, and if student-led conferences have any benefit on student achievement, parental involvement, motivation, and accountability. Student-led conferences are a strategy to involve parents in student’s academic success. Based on Bouffard and Steffen (2007), research has revealed that family involvement benefits vary across demographic groups, it is important for educators to be aware of cultural and background factors which are exclusive to their school communities (Bouffard and Stephen, 2007). Bouffard and Steffen (2007) found that “research links family involvement in middle and high school to students’ positive academic and social outcomes” (p. 2). Although a large number of studies have been conducted on the topic of parental involvement by researchers, (Baker, 2009; Baumgardner, 2011); Bouffard &Stephen, 2007); Cotton & Wikelund, 2001); Desforges & Abouchaar, 2003; Jeynes, 2007), few scholarly studies have focused on parental involvement and the impact student-led conferences have on student achievement primarily focusing on rural communities. According to United States law, children from all communities have a right to a quality education and success regardless of their ethnicity or socioeconomic status. It is important for educators, school districts, and parents to work together the help students succeed. Adolescents need relationships with adults they can trust who will support them allowing them to be more successful (Bouffard & Stephen, 2007). Rural communities experience issues with parental involvement and student achievement just as those in urban communities Doesn’t this statement focus on the central problem for your study? . Children growing up in impoverished homes or environments have different experiences than those who are not living in these conditions Is SES a problem at the research site?. Hardré, Sullivan and Crowson (2009) report that “Rural youth (compared to non-rural) often experience greater conflict between educational goals and their family connections, and those with such conflicts are more likely to have lower educational aspirations and to delay postsecondary education” (p. 2) I’m not sure how this sentence relates to the problem. As reported in the National Center for Education Statistics (Rahman, 2009), white students are still scoring higher than black students Is ethnicity/race a problem at the research site?. Whelan (2007) reported that states that provide educational support to a higher percentage of poor students and those with limited English language skills need to provide more services to allow them to reach the same level as other age appropriate students...
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