I interviewed my sister about parent-teacher conferences at the school my nephew and niece attend. She observed that:
1) Parents are informed of their child's standing at least 3x a year. But some kids are given midterm reports if their grades are low. She was thinking if the process would be inproved by updating grades in real-time and making them available online. But she feared that the parents that make trouble during the regular PTCs would have a chance to do this earlier and waste the teachers' time.
2) Parents usually just ask why their son/daughter got low marks. And teachers just answer. But she described a time when she could have gotten mad at the teacher but instead asked the teacher for advice on what she should do at home to help. At the same time she told stories about how her son was at home. She said that things were a lot better after that. Maybe because of the rapport formed between teacher and parent.
3) Some teachers don't know how to respond to parents. The newer teachers tend to be defensive which angered parents even more. They should receive training on how to do PTCs, especially with difficult parents.
4) The sheer number of students a teacher has prevents her from making anecdotal records of students, which is one of the strengths of the preschool her kids attended. Parents are reassured when they know that teachers really know their students.