Thursday, May 28, 2015
Teacher messages to parents emphasizing what students could improve most effective
This study involves an intervention designed to increase the effectiveness of parental involvement in their children’s education. Each week the researchers sent brief individualized messages from teachers to the parents of high school students in a credit recovery program.
This light-touch communication increased the probability students earned credits by 6.5 percentage points – a 41% reduction in the proportion failing to earn credit. This improvement 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.
The results illustrate the underutilized potential of communication policies with clear but reasonable expectations for teachers and program designs that make communication efficient and effective.