New Study Shows The Obvious – Regular Communication With Parents Helps Students

Study: Teacher Outreach to Parents Has ‘Under-Explored Potential’ in Schools is the recent headline in Education Week Teacher.

It reports on a new study from Harvard showing that parents who received a weekly message from their child’s teacher in a summer credit-recovery program resulted in improved student academic performance. The message, though, needed to include a specific recommendation for how the student could improve (attendance, behavior, etc.). This, in turn, predictably led to conversations between the parent and child about those actions.

A key element in the study, though, that hasn’t been highlighted in media reports about it is that the weekly contact wasn’t actually made by the teacher. The teacher would write a message about each student and then the researchers would communicate it to parents via phone, email or text (the parents had indicated a preference at the beginning of the study).

So, yes, weekly communication helps. Realistically, though, how many teachers are going to find the time to communicate individual messages to parents of all their students each week. Researchers report that it took teachers thirty minutes each week to write the messages for their fifteen students in the study but that doesn’t include the time it takes to track down the parents.

I’m still adding this post to “The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement.”

You might also be interested in a similar study I wrote about earlier…