A randomised controlled trial published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly examines the effectiveness of the Parents as Teachers (PAT) programme in Zurich, Switzerland.
PAT is a parent teaching programme that begins during
pregnancy, or shortly after birth, and continues until the child’s third
birthday. Among its goals, PAT aims to increase parental knowledge of early
childhood development and improve parental practice and, in the long term,
increase the child’s school readiness and success.
A total of 261 children from 248 families took part in the
trial. Families in the intervention group (n=132) were supported with regular
home visits from qualified parent educators with a degree in early education,
and attended group meetings. The 116 families in the control group had access
to the normal community services but were not supported by PAT.
After three years of the PAT programme, children showed more age-appropriate adaptive behaviour, with small effect sizes in both self-help skills (ES = +0.26) and developmental milestones (ES = +0.26). There were also positive effects on children’s language skills – particularly expressive language skills (ES = +0.39). PAT was also found to positively affect children’s problem behaviour (ES = +0.30).
By contrast, however, no meaningful increases were observed
in children’s health, cognitive development, or motor development.
of home-based early intervention on child outcomes: A randomized controlled
trial of Parents as Teachers in Switzerland (May 2019), Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Volume 48
An article published in Frontiers in Psychology examines how maths homework effort among middle school pupils is influenced by adult support from family and school. The authors hypothesised that support from parents and teachers could promote the autonomous motivation of pupils by providing a sense of having free choice, and by generating interest.
A questionnaire was distributed to 666 grade 7 and 8 (Year 8
and 9) pupils from three schools in the Hubei Province of China. The
questionnaire sought information about pupils’ maths homework effort,
autonomous motivation, maths teacher support and parental autonomy support. The
results were as follows:
- Pupils perceived that parental autonomy support
and maths teachers’ support facilitated pupils’ autonomous motivation, which in
turn enhanced their effort in homework.
- Furthermore, pupils perceived that parental
autonomy support directly promoted their maths homework effort.
The authors concluded that parents and teachers should
provide more support for middle school pupils’ maths learning. Specifically,
they provided three practical strategies to parents, namely: “Try to understand
children’s perspective when communicating homework and school life, offer
meaningful reasons why homework is important, and allow children to arrange
their homework time”.
of parental autonomy support and teacher support on middle school students’ homework
effort: Homework autonomous motivation as mediator (March 2019), Frontiers in Psychology
A review of evidence published by the Education Endowment Foundation shows how parental engagement can have a positive effect on a child’s academic achievement – regardless of age or socioeconomic status.
The review, conducted by the Universities of Plymouth and
Exeter and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West
Peninsula, concludes that parental engagement in children’s learning is
associated with improved academic outcomes, and that the association is
stronger when parental engagement is defined as parents’ expectations for their
children’s academic achievement. All studies controlled for parents’ education
and/or family socioeconomic status.
The review highlights areas of promise for how schools and
early education settings can support parents in a way that improves their
children’s learning. Examples include family literacy interventions to help
boost younger children’s learning, and summer reading programmes that improve school-aged
children’s learning, particularly among families from more disadvantaged
An overarching recommendation is the importance of schools
planning and monitoring parental engagement activities to get the most out of
them. Other recommendations look at the best ways to communicate with parents,
and strategies for supporting learning at home.
The report also includes guidance on tailoring school
communications to encourage parental engagement and offering more intensive
support where needed.
Source: How can
schools support parents’ engagement in their children’s learning? Evidence from
research and practice (September 2019), Education
A new study by Steven Sheldon and Sol Bee Jung from Johns Hopkins School of Education examines Parent Teacher Home Visits (PTHV), a strategy for engaging educators and families as a team to support pupil achievement. The PTHV model has three main components: (1) an initial visit in the summer or autumn in which educators focus on getting to know the pupil and the family, (2) ongoing two-way conversation during the school year, and (3) a second visit in the winter or spring with a focus on how to support the child academically.
Four large urban districts from
across the US participated in the study. From each district, the researchers
requested pupil-level data about demographic characteristics (eg, gender, race)
and pupil outcomes (eg, attendance and standardised test performance).
Additionally, districts were asked to provide data about the implementation of
PTHV in their schools.
Key findings of the study were as
- On average, schools that systematically implemented PTHV experienced decreased rates of pupil chronic absenteeism and increased rates of pupil English language and maths proficiency, as measured on state assessments.
- Pupils whose families participated in a home visit were less likely to be chronically absent than pupils whose families did not participate.
- For pupils, attending a school that was implementing home visits with at least 10% of pupils’ families was associated with a decreased likelihood of being chronically absent.
- For pupils, attending a school that was implementing home visits with at least 10% of pupils’ families was associated with an increased likelihood of scoring at or above proficiency on standardised English language assessments.
Source: Student outcomes and parent Year
3 evaluation teacher home visits (November 1018), Johns Hopkins University
Engaging parents in their children’s education, both at home and at school, can be an effective and low-cost way of improving learning outcomes for pupils. A study published in European Economic Review examines whether academic achievement can be improved by increasing parental involvement through scheduled parent-teacher meetings.
Asad Islam conducted the randomised controlled trial in
schools in two southern districts of Bangladesh. Seventy-six primary schools
were chosen randomly from more than 200 in these regions, with 40 schools
randomly allocated to the intervention group and 36 to the control group. Pupils
in these schools all came from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and a quarter of
parents did not complete primary school.
The intervention involved monthly face-to-face meetings
between parents and teachers over a period of two academic years. At each
15-minute meeting, teachers discussed with parents their child’s academic
progress and provided them with a report card for their child. Pupil achievement
outcomes were measured using standardised test scores.
Overall, test scores of pupils in the intervention schools
increased by 0.26 standard deviations (SD) in the first year, and 0.38 SD by the
end of the second year of the intervention. The study also found that pupils in
the intervention schools had made improvements in their reading and writing
abilities and general knowledge. Parents who attended the parent-teacher
meetings reported that they felt encouraged to spend more time at home helping
children study or do homework. Both parents and teachers also reported improved
attitudes in the behaviour and confidence of their children.
meetings and student outcomes: Evidence from a developing country (January
2019), European Economic Review, Volume
A maths app may help eliminate the negative association between parents’ maths anxiety and children’s maths achievement in early elementary (primary) school, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
The researchers tracked the maths achievement of 587 pupils
from 40 classrooms in the Chicago area from first to third grade (Year 2 to 4).
In the first grade, pupils and their families were randomly assigned tablets
loaded with either a maths app or a similar reading app.
Parents were also given a questionnaire to complete in order to assess a variety of attitudes and behaviours related to maths and reading. Maths anxiety was measured using the Mathematical Anxiety Rating Scale. At the end of the first grade, parents were given a second survey to complete. Children’s maths achievement was measured using the applied problems subset of a nationally-standardised test.
By the end of third grade (Year 4), children of maths-anxious
parents who were in the reading app control group had learned less maths than
children of parents with no maths anxiety; learning the equivalent of
approximately five fewer months of maths. However, this was not the case for
children in the maths app intervention group, and children with maths-anxious
parents showed the same maths progress as pupils with parents who had no maths
These results suggest that parents’ maths anxiety is
negatively associated with children’s maths achievement in early elementary
school, and that the decreased negative association observed in the
intervention group is due in part to a change in parents’ attitudes. The
researchers conclude that when families used the app together, parents’
attitudes toward maths changed and they were able to disassociate their own
maths anxiety from their children’s ability in maths.
Disassociating the relation between parents’ math anxiety and children’s math
achievement: Long-term effects of a math app intervention (December 2018), Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,