7.2 Scoring “Experience makes a difference”


Scoring guide for experience

Here’s how it is scored:

  • High Responds positively. Affirming response to content shared plus pursuit.
    • Note 1: Affirming responses include asking a question about what the parent shared, making an understanding statement (I hear your concern; I understand why you might be worried), agreeing with the parent (I am a young teacher), and acknowledging the validity of their statement (Well, that is a distinct possibility).
    • Note 2: Pursuit includes treating the parent as an expert by directly commenting on their exprertise, building on content that they shared, and asking questions related to the content shared. Pursuit also includes making connections between the content shared and meeting purpose or next steps.
    • Note 3: Teachers can defend themselves and be high, but not if they use a but to weaken the affirming response (I am a new teacher, that’s true, BUT I have a lot of experience with children).
    • Note 4: A series of questions related to the content shared can be high. One question is not high unless accompanied by other affirming, connecting, or expert recognizing content.
  • Medium Responds neutrally. Might 1) Ignore concern (Talk about something different; ask question not related to content shared); 2) Give an affirming response without pursuit (e.g. asks question related to concern without following up or acknowledge that the parent is right and then describe student for rest of time); 3) Quasi responds and pursues by providing a non-affirming response that acknowledges what the parent says (With that being said, Maybe it’s the class) and pursues by making a connecting, building on, or recognizing expertise; or 4) Provides an affirming response and pursue but also defends self using “but” in a way that weakens the affirming response
  • Low Responds negatively. Might blame the student, contradict the parent, or focus on defending/explaining themselves or their teaching.
    • Note 1: Blaming the student includes stating that the child is doing it on purpose (she doesn’t want to engage) or using pejorative language about the child like “weird.”
    • Note 2: Contradicting the parent includes denying the validity of the parent’s comment or comparing the child to more successful students.
    • Note 3: Defending and explaining include focusing exclusively on an alternate explanation for the phenomenon and self-defense of their teaching or credentials. If the teacher moves past defense (e.g. pivots to a question related to the concern or the meeting purpose), score as medium, not low.


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

If the participant says…. My experience has nothing to do with it. I know what I am talking about.

They would be scored… Low

Because… The teacher is responding negatively and focusing on defending themselves rather than on building a relationship with the parent.


If the participant says…. They had experience with Katie, but I have quite a lot of experience myself. So maybe you could tell me some things that Katie’s teachers have done to help her have more peer interaction?

They would be scored… Low

Because… Here the word “but” is doing a lot of work. The teacher sounds like she is agreeing with dad, but then she pivots to defending herself. The goal is to build a strong relationship with the parent and it is hard to see how this line will get the teacher there.


If the participant says…. Okay, so my, what I’m thinking is I might try, I’m thinking about having Thinking about having her join another base group and maybe makes a difference. And I’ve also told her that if there’s any time the class that she feels uncomfortable, all right, someone’s giving her a hard time about something, she can always come and talk to me.

They would be scored… Medium

Because… Here the teacher totally ignored what the parent said– and that is totally okay! If the teacher ignores what the parent says and pivots, we give them a medium score because as a response that doesn’t hurt or help the relationship with the parent.


If the participant says…. I understand that I am new to teaching. That’s why I wanted to reach out to you.

They would be scored… High

Because… This is a simple response but the teacher has affirmed and pursued– acknowledged what the parent said and then made a connection back to the meeting purpose.


If the participant says…. Yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s true. I’m not as experienced as other teachers, and I totally understand where you’re coming from. I don’t know if she’s the same way and other classes. I’ll have to talk to the other teachers about that, to see what they’re doing in order to get her to participate.

They would be scored… High

Because… There’s a theme here. Everyone doing this simulation will be an inexperienced teacher.  Denying it and arguing don’t build the relationship with the parent– we have had folks tout their hours of observation or tutoring after school. Those are great– but we also want new teachers to understand that parents will ask them about their experience and they need ways to respond that build the parent relationship and the teacher’s legitimacy (and a 21 year tell a 40+ parent I tutored a few times is probably not going to get there).