Individual Math Conferences

Posted on June 22, 2010. Filed under: Assessment, Math Conferences | Tags: , |

Today, I interviewed several upper elementary students about math.  These were students who had failed the math test and were going to be going to summer school.  I wanted to know what their perception of what happened was.  Surprisingly, they all said they liked math and felt they had a handle on it.  I thought, “Wow!”  What does this mean?  So, I told them that I would like to do a “math interview” with them, where we would discuss problems and how they solved them.  They agreed and we were off! 

Now there are several types of interviews, but I did a content interview.  I wanted to know what they knew.  This experience just reminds me again, that  IT’S really important that we talk to students about math.  Some things we will only ever know by having a conversation.  We should be doing math conferences.  We have to find time in our schedules.  Even if we only do 1 or 2 a semester, it is probably more than we have been doing.  Math conferences can make all the difference in a student’s progress.  When student’s have the time to talk about math and their individual performance, they have the opportunity to set goals.  When students set goals, they have the opportunity to meet them.  So, look at the forms I’ve uploaded and use them!  And let me know how they work, please:) 


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2 Responses to “Individual Math Conferences”

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Hi Dr. Nicki,
Lots of ideas from this suggestion. What comes first – the guided math group or the conference? Because teachers have lots of data from the previous year when the students get to their classes, maybe it’s important to talk to the studens first? Or should we wait until the first district assessment to get an idea of what strengths and weaknesses they still have? I would probably have to ask teachers to schedule and document when they conference with kids to be sure a conversation is taking place. Personally, a conference per unit of instruction would be ideal, but two a semester is fine

Hi Lisa,
Yes I agree. A conference per unit would be ideal but at least two a semester is fine. I think teachers have to find a rhythm that works for them. There are different types of conferences though. In the beginning of the year, it would be great to do a “getting to know you conference.” We really need to think about the difference between conferences and interviews. We should start discussing this on the blog.

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