4.2 Scoring purpose and concerns


Scoring guide for purpose and concerns

Here’s how purpose and concerns is scored:

  • High Provides clear and detailed information on what the teacher is observing about the child that might need to be addressed and has specific, action oriented goals for the meeting. 2. Frames the meeting collaboratively either by a) using collaborative language such as together, “work with you,” or collaborate; or b) by commenting on the parent’s expertise; or c) by asking the parent to provide input on a plan, to help the teacher change what they are doing, or to help come up with ideas on how to better support the child in the classroom.
    • Note Using “we” is not enough for collaboration. Nor is a purpose of having the parent do something or change how they parent.
  • Medium Has purpose and concerns but the purpose is not a collaborative, action oriented plan.
    • Note: Purpose might be building community/checking in, discussing how the child is doing broadly, discussing the problem or concern, hearing the parent’s thoughts or insights about the concern, wanting to work together (but no mention of a plan), wanting the parent’s expertise (but no plan), or asking an action oriented question (like about how to make the class better) without connecting it to the meeting purpose or setting a purpose of making a plan (but not collaboratively)
  • Low Either purpose or concerns are missing, vague, blames child, or includes telling the parent how to parent.
    • Note 1: Vague concerns includes comments such as “socializing more,” “difficulty making friends,” “how she’s interacting with her peers,” that leave the teacher’s concern unclear.
    • Note 2: Blaming the child includes stating that the child “distracts herself,” “wants to be alone,” or “doesn’t like her peers” or other statements that describe the behavior as intentional on the part of the child.
    • Note 3: Vague purpose includes what the teacher has noticed, wanting to bring things to the parent’s attention, referencing prior contact as reason for meeting, or asking a question about the child with no other purpose or a vague question about the parents thoughts on the child.
    • Note 4: Telling the parent how to parent includes comments about want the parent to have “good intentions,” or a purpose of telling the parent what to do at home.


Here are some tips on scoring:

  • A low is either the purpose or concerns are missing. Almost always, it is the purpose. A bad purpose is still a medium– low is one of the elements is missing.
  • If the teacher says to the parent at the beginning something like, “I’m glad you came in for us to talk about Katie” or “talk about Katie and how she is doing,” go ahead and note that (“talk about K”). That is a purpose– a weak one, but enough to move someone to the middle. The beginning is RUSHED so if you think maybe you heard something like this, give credit (aka if you think they maybe said something about talking about the child in the greeting,  give them a medium even if you didn’t hear it perfectly).
  • Concerns are scored as either missing/ so vague they aren’t really there (low) or present/ there is something there (medium/high). A low concern would be none or something like, “I’m just worried about her” or “She has social problems.” That counts as no concern/so vague because the parent got no information! There is no difference between medium and high for concerns.
  • The difference between medium and high is purpose. A strong purpose moves someone to high and a meh one leaves them in medium. By strong, the parent needs to know both that the teacher wants to work with them and what she wants to work with them on– collaboration and action.


Now, let’s see what that looks like in practice!

If the participant says….I’m excited to collaborate with you about how to best support Katie in the classroom…But I have noticed that she doesn’t seem to enjoy or engage in group collaborative work, and doesn’t seem to have an interest in interacting that much with peers. Um, I met with her personally to talk to her about it. Um, but she was super quick to just say that like, she’s totally fine. She like nothing’s going on. And I understand like some students just really prefer to work independently. But I also wanted to get your input just to see if you had like different thoughts or if Katie was talking differently with you at home. Um, so I really thought that it’d be useful to collaborate with you on this

They would be scored… High

Because… The purpose here is clear– the teacher wants to collaborate with the parent on something concrete (supporting Katie in the classroom). The concerns are also clear and detailed.


If the participant saysReally, she’s, she’s above grade level in reading. She really likes fiction. She’s doing her work on time as well. The only thing the one thing I was concerned with she’s very quiet in class, and our class is a pretty social class with each other, but Katie doesn’t seem to be interacting with her peers. Um, and I’ve you know, spoken to her, but she seems, you know, very quiet and distant. And, you know, she doesn’t seem to be responding, you know, with her peers the way you know, other peers are. So I was just wondering if you could give me any insight.

They would be scored… Medium

Because… Here the concerns are clear (quiet in class… interacting with peers) and there is a clear purpose (give me any insight) but that purpose is not collaborative and action oriented. The purpose has to be both collaborative and action oriented for a high score.


If the participant saysSo today I just wanted to chat about Katie. I like to do this with all the parents and get to know a little bit more about all of my students, and you’re the person who knows her best in the world. So I really want to hear more from you because she’s with me in the classroom, you know, eight hours a day, but the rest of the time, she’s with you. So that’s why I wanted to come and chat with you today…One of the one of the things I have noticed is that Katie tends to want to be by herself a little bit more, which is a preference that some people have. Some people just work better on their own, but I also have noticed that I think Katie could maybe branch out make some more friends and I really want to help her just get to know the people in our class a little bit.

They would be scored… Medium

Because… This one is also medium because again, there is a purpose but it isn’t collaborative and action oriented. We know that the teacher wants to help her get to know students (not collaborative) and that she wants to chat about Katie (not action oriented)– those aren’t enough to move this into the high bracket.


If the participant saysOkay. Yeah, I am. I noticed that she in class in my class, she has been working alone, mostly. Um, she does she seems very quiet. She doesn’t participate unless she’s called on. And I met with her one on one recently just to chat with her about that. And she didn’t really give me much feedback. I asked her about, you know, how her interactions with the other students in the class was going and she just said, fine. And then I asked if there was anything I needed to know, but she said there wasn’t.

They would be scored… Low

Because… There is no clear purpose. Why has the teacher asked the parent to come in? What does she want from the meeting? We can’t tell from this excerpt.


If the participant saysOkay, um, I had a meeting with Katie a few weeks ago, and I also have not been able to hear much about friends and things like that here at school. Um, I have noticed that she doesn’t talk a lot and talk to a lot of people. Um, which if she doesn’t want to, there’s nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to bring that to your attention in case there was some kind of issue. I’ve not heard anything from her, and she’s not been very open in talking with me about it.

They would be scored… Low

Because… The purpose of the meeting here is to bring something to the parent’s attention– bringing it to the parent’s attention falls into the bucket of a purpose so vague that it doesn’t really count as a purpose.


Betting you guess what comes next! Click on the quiz below to practice scoring purpose and concerns.