A research team has found a practical solution to help parents assist in improving their child’s failing grades: texting.
According to the research conducted by University of Bristol and Harvard University, regularly notifying parents via SMS about their children’s progress could result in better exam results.
Using a system they developed called the Parent Engagement Project, the researchers tasked 36 English high schools to send one text a week to the parents of 15,697 students in Years 7, 9 and 11, advising them of upcoming exams, homework and the topics discussed in school. During the trial, the schools sent an average of 30 texts to each parent, reported the Daily Mail.
The report, co-funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), revealed that the students who received parental intervention exhibited a month of progress in school subjects. The attendance among the pupils also improved.
According to the researchers, the effect in school attendance came as a surprise:
“The positive effects of the programme in relation to a reduction in absenteeism was surprising given that no texts related to attendance were sent, and is perhaps related to the increased monitoring by parents of children’s school-related activities overall, creating an environment in which pupils felt less able or willing to truant.”
EEF Chief Executive Sir Kevan Collins explained further:
“We know that it can be very difficult to get parents more involved, particularly when their children get older. It would seem that the simple and cheap approach of regular texts could be a better bet for schools than expecting parents to turn up at school for classes of their own.
“Taken together, these three results give us hugely useful insights into how we can better engage parents with children’s learning – which has the potential to have a significant impact on their results,” he added.
According to the report, adopting such a scheme would cost schools about £7.55, or about $10, per student yearly.