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ERIC Number: ED563011
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
Teacher-to-Parent Communication: Experimental Evidence from a Low-Cost Communication Policy
Kraft, Matthew A.; Rogers, Todd
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
A wide body of literature documents the important role that parents play in supporting children's academic success in school (Houtenville & Conway, 2008; Barnard, 2004; Fan & Chen, 2001). Drawing on this literature, national taskforces and federal legislation consistently identify increased parental involvement as a central goal of educational reform initiatives (e.g. No Child Left Behind, Title I, Part A, Section 1118). Schools attempt to promote greater parental engagement though a variety of efforts centered on teacher-parent communication (Epstein, 2008). Cheung and Pomerantz (2012) found that children whose parents were more likely to be involved with their learning were more likely to be motivated to meet their parents' academic expectations, and received higher grades. Recent experimental research has documented how two-way teacher-parent communication can lead to greater parental involvement, improved student engagement and academic achievement (Authors, 2013; Bergman, 2012). This study examines the effect of delivering to parents weekly messages written by teachers about each child's performance in school, and the authors explore how these effects differ across different message types. This is accomplished by conducting a field experiment during a summer credit recovery program in a large urban school district. Researchers randomly assigned participating students and their parents to one of three experimental conditions. Some parents received information throughout the summer program about what their students were doing well and should continue doing; others received information about what their students needed to improve upon, while a third group received no information. The research sought to answer two questions: (1) What is the effect of teacher-to-parent communication on the probability a student earns course credit in a credit recovery program; and 2) Are positive or needs-improvement messages more effective at increasing a student's likelihood of earning course credit? This research contributes to a growing body of evidence on the beneficial impact that teachers providing parents with individualized messages and information about their children's schoolwork can have on student achievement and advancement in school. This study also points to the importance of further examining how teachers and schools can improve the content and quality of their communication with parents. Tables are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001