Reduce Less-Needed Interviews

While schools would never want to turn away a parent requesting interviews with their child, limited time and staff mean that compromises may be needed. Some schools chose to adopt a first-in-first-served approach where failing to get interviews means you should have ‘requested’ them earlier.
This is administratively efficient, but not educationally efficient – and in may results in a mad scramble for parents to get in early by ringing the school in droves at 7:30am or waking especially early to log onto a website or other efforts. 
The educational process of interview allocation should ideally be done on the basis of need and equality, and not biased towards submission time – especially when many parents may not have been properly notified about the event in time by their tardy children so are at a further disadvantage.
Analysing the data provided by EdvalPTN allows schools to better understand and better manage the important issue of interview allocation vs. available time and resources.
Export the main table to Excel, and add a column for ratio of parent interview requests – being number requested divided by the maximum possible number. Sort by this column and examine or graph those who have requested a ‘significantly higher’ ratio of interviews per child than other parents. Now examine these specific parents for the purpose of analysing possible cases of less-necessary interviews being requested.
Which parents request much higher numbers of interviews per child than other parents?
Are some parents requesting perhaps unnecessary interviews? Do they have legitimate concerns about their child? Are they perhaps under a misunderstanding that they ‘should’ request interviews with every teacher? Do they feel compelled to request all interviews for some reason? Has the school suggested clearly that parents should NOT request a lot of interviews unless they have concerns?
Is there any advice in documentation provided by the school that may prompt parents to reduce some of their less necessary interview requests? Are parents aware that when they request all eight interviews for their child, that this may require an hour or more of the teacher’s limited time on the night?
If the school uses an manual or immediate schedule allocation method without limits, that a parent who requests a large number of interviews early on may effectively deny a later submitting parent who has greater educational concerns but can’t get any interviews as the event is already too heavily booked?
  1. Provide better advice to parents prior to accepting interview requests. Politely suggest that parents should try to limit requests to a suitable number unless there are specific concerns.
  2. Provide a guideline maximum number of interviews per child. Make a specific reference to the fact that each interview requires limited staff time, yet there may be hundreds of parents wanting to place bookings.
  3. Physically limit the number of interviews allowed per parent, to ensure only the more important ones are satisfied.
  4. The best solution is to use a two stage processing method as directly supported by EdvalPTN. Set an initial (lower) fixed limit of interviews per child, and accept batch submissions. Then, open up the schedule online for subsequent immediate mode allocation – with a slightly higher (or no) limit on interview requests that can be made.
    • The result is parents will be unable to over subscribe interview requests in the initial preference allocation, but any parents with key concerns can always make additional requests in the second phase.
    • Only parents with real concerns will be motivated to make the effort to secure the additional interviews. This process maximises the educational matching of concerned parents with their teachers – yet offers significant cost and time savings to the school as less-necessary interview requests are cleverly filtered out.