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”