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The underutilized potential of teacher-to-parent communication: Evidence from a field experiment

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  • Kraft, Matthew A.
  • Rogers, Todd

Abstract

Parental involvement is correlated with student performance, though the causal relationship is less well established. This experiment examined an intervention that delivered weekly one-sentence individualized messages from teachers to the parents of high school students in a credit recovery program. Messages decreased the percentage of students who failed to earn course credit from 15.8% to 9.3%—a 41% reduction. This reduction resulted primarily from preventing drop-outs, rather than from reducing failure or dismissal rates. The intervention shaped the content of parent–child conversations with messages emphasizing what students could improve, versus what students were doing well, producing the largest effects. We estimate the cost of this intervention per additional student credit earned to be less than one-tenth the typical cost per credit earned for the district. These findings underscore the value of educational policies that encourage and facilitate teacher-to-parent communication to empower parental involvement in their children's education.

Suggested Citation

  • Kraft, Matthew A. & Rogers, Todd, 2015. "The underutilized potential of teacher-to-parent communication: Evidence from a field experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 49-63.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:47:y:2015:i:c:p:49-63
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2015.04.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fan Li & Prashant Loyalka & Hongmei Yi & Yaojiang Shi & Natalie Johnson & Scott Rozelle, 2016. "Ability Tracking and Social Capital in China’s Rural Secondary School System," LICOS Discussion Papers 37916, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    2. Bergman, Peter & Rogers, Todd, 2017. "The Impact of Defaults on Technology Adoption, and Its Underappreciation by Pollicymakers," Working Paper Series rwp17-021, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:313-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.
    5. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2017. "Richard H. Thaler: Integrating Economics with Psychology," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2017-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    6. Unkovic, Cait & Sen, Maya & Quinn, Kevin M., 2015. "Does Encouragement Matter in Improving Gender Imbalances in Technical Fields? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Working Paper Series rwp15-032, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    7. Kalena E. Cortes & Hans Fricke & Susanna Loeb & David S. Song, 2018. "Too little or too much? Actionable Advice in an Early-Childhood Text Messaging Experiment," NBER Working Papers 24827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Siebert, W. Stanley & Wei, Xiangdong & Wong, Ho Lun & Zhou, Xiang, 2018. "Student Feedback, Parent-Teacher Communication, and Academic Performance: Experimental Evidence from Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 11347, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Kalena E. Cortes & Hans D.U. Fricke & Susanna Loeb & David S. Song & Benjamin N. York, 2019. "When Behavioral Barriers are Too High or Low – How Timing Matters for Parenting Interventions," NBER Working Papers 25964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Robinson, Carly D. & Lee, Monica G. & Dearing, Eric & Rogers, Todd, 2017. "Reducing Student Absenteeism in the Early Grades by Targeting Parental Beliefs," Working Paper Series rwp17-011, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    11. repec:eee:cysrev:v:98:y:2019:i:c:p:238-251 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Christopher J. Doss & Erin M. Fahle & Susanna Loeb & Benjamin N. York, 2018. "More than Just a Nudge: Supporting Kindergarten Parents with Differentiated and Personalized Text-Messages," NBER Working Papers 24450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Philip Oreopoulos & Uros Petronijevic, 2018. "Student Coaching: How Far Can Technology Go?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(2), pages 299-329.
    14. Syon P. Bhanot & Gordon Kraft-Todd & David Rand & Erez Yoeli, 2018. "Putting social rewards and identity salience to the test: Evidence from a field experiment with teachers in Philadelphia," Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, Center for Experimental and Behavioral Public Administration, vol. 1(1).
    15. Lindsay C. Page & Judith Scott-Clayton, 2015. "Improving College Access in the United States: Barriers and Policy Responses," NBER Working Papers 21781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Christopher R. Dobronyi & Philip Oreopoulos & Uros Petronijevic, 2017. "Goal Setting, Academic Reminders, and College Success: A Large-Scale Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Asadul Islam, 2017. "Parental Involvement in Education: Evidence from Field Experiments in Developing Countries," Monash Economics Working Papers 02-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    18. Peter Leopold S. Bergman, 2016. "Technology Adoption in Education: Usage, Spillovers and Student Achievement," CESifo Working Paper Series 6101, CESifo Group Munich.
    19. Peter Leopold S. Bergman & Eric W. Chan, 2017. "Leveraging Technology to Engage Parents at Scale: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," CESifo Working Paper Series 6493, CESifo Group Munich.
    20. Page, Lindsay C. & Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2016. "Improving college access in the United States: Barriers and policy responses," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 4-22.
    21. Fan Li & Prashant Loyalka & Hongmei Yi, 2016. "Ability Tracking and Social Capital in China’s Rural Secondary School System," Working Papers id:10972, eSocialSciences.
    22. Peter Z. Schochet, "undated". "Multi-Armed RCTs: A Design-Based Framework," Mathematica Policy Research Reports eedf2eac4d4c4d8e869052c1d, Mathematica Policy Research.
    23. repec:eee:ecolet:v:173:y:2018:i:c:p:39-43 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Teacher-parent communication; Randomized control trial; Parent involvement; Teacher effectiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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