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Student-Led Conferences: A Key Structure of Student Agency

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    Sarah Norris

Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. is an EL Education Credentialed Mentor School.

In a post for EdWeek, Jeff Heyck-Williams, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Two Rivers Public Charter School, writes about a key structure for communicating student achievement in EL Education schools.

Particularly useful for other schools in the network is his discussion of digital portfolios, which many schools are moving towards:

DIGITAL PORTFOLIOS

Digital portfolios of student work are the core structure of our student-led conferences. At the end of each semester students gather representative pieces of work in English language arts, expedition, mathematics, Spanish, and physical education. They then curate their work in a portfolio on a Google Site.

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Where traditional conferences seek to explain where students are academically primarily through assessment data and grades, our student-led conferences root the conversation in the work that students have produced. While traditional grades and assessment data are included in a section of each students' portfolios, examples of students' highest quality work best exemplify where students are in their understanding and skill development. Students not only are able to share where they believe they are based on their grades and tests, but give concrete examples from their work as evidence of their knowledge and skill development.

In addition, the digital portfolios provide a structure for the student-led conference script. Students move through each section of the portfolio in a twenty-minute conference touching primarily on their English, math, and project work as well as their grades and testing data.

Read more of Jeff's work in EdWeek.