A recent evaluation by Queen’s University Belfast has suggested that texts from schools to parents could help improve grades and cut pupil absence.
Involving 15,697 pupils from 29 schools across England, the programme looked at the effects of sending parents texts as a means of home/school communication. Half of the parents were sent roughly one text per week during the school term from September 2014. Texts included information on upcoming tests, missed homeworks and details about what had been studied and learnt that day.
In each school, parents of either Year 11, Year 9 or Year 7 students were chosen to receive the texts, which were designed to prompt conversations about school in the home.
Baseline tests to determine the abilities of the pupils involved were carried out at the start of the year and figures from the National Pupil Database were then used to determine progress. Whilst the effects of the intervention were not statistically significant in English and science, the intervention had ‘an extremely small, positive, yet statistically significant impact’ on attainment in maths and absenteeism.
According to the reports, the texts cost the schools around £6 per pupil over the year.
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