Reduce Parent Time-Waste
Well planned and organised parent teacher nights have very low levels of parent time waste. This ensures happy parents, and low event congestion. To analyse the level of parent waste in any solution, simply double click the time waste column heading in the main EdvalPTN table, to sort parents by how long they are (collectively) waiting in their schedules.
You may want to right click the column heading and copy or export the data to Excel where it can be graphed more clearly.
A certain level of parent time waste is to be accepted, and one or two slots should not pose too much concern. Where there is a higher than expected number of parents having more than two interview slots of time waste, you may want to consider addressing this issue, which can be done by:
  • Lower the maximum number of interviews per child.
    • This will free the schedule up, and thus reduce average parent wait times
  • Increase event duration
    • This increases the number of available slots.
  • Reduce the interview slot duration
    • Allows more slots to occur within the existing time frame.
  • Encroach on the staff meal breaks
    • Accommodate some specific parents. Allow some teachers to take an interview at the start or end of the meal break, and perhaps make up this time later if possible.
  • Find best meal break
    • Ensure the meal break is located at the best time to accommodate parent requests. Sometimes moving breaks just slightly can provide significant waiting time reductions.
  • Consider parent availability.
    • Restrictions on time available will naturally lead to lower quality solutions. Are the problem parents specifying to short an available time frame? Is the problem other parents who’s restrictions are impacting on the parents with long waits?
  • Reduce the maximum permitted parent time wait.
    • This will cause any outlying interviews to be automatically dropped by the system. This is often fairer on parents. We could physically grant them their interview request, but a wait time of 2hrs is not likely to be warmly received by the parent.
    • There must always be some threshold where time waste becomes unacceptable for parents, and it is best to drop interviews. Any interviews dropped by the system due to being outside acceptable waiting levels (as specified by users) can be overridden by manual assignment if the parent was happy to accept the long wait to have an important interview.
  • Check for restrictive teacher availability
    • This may adversely affect parent waiting times.
  • Examine the teacher early mark parameter.
    • While it is efficient to grant early marks, this must also be balanced against the impact on parents. It is generally advisable to include some early mark weighting, but perhaps this may need to be reduced if there are problems.
  • Contact parents
    • Suggest they may want to drop some interviews, or seek appointment times for these outside the event.
  • Check the allocation of rooms.
    • Parents will be granted a free slot by EdvalPTN if they are required to move from one room to another, as they need some travel and orientation time – so some level of spacing is to be expected if a range of different rooms are used.
  • Verify the maximum number of interviews is appropriate.
    • This EdvalPTN parameter limits parents to the number specified. This is a technical parameter designed to optimise schedules but variation may result in differing solution quality depending on the value.
    • It is used to efficiently allocate parent interview but also manage teacher schedules and other considerations. A value of 1 may not result in the best result overall as it does not allow sufficient variation for other quality metrics.
  • Consider another event.
    • Where there is a large numbers of parents affected by long waiting times, you may want to consider holding another event entirely – thus spreading interviews over two periods of time and ensuring all can see the teachers they want.