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Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools
Last registered on August 13, 2014

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000225
Initial registration date
August 13, 2014
Last updated
August 13, 2014 11:28 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
OECD
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Singapour
PI Affiliation
PSE
PI Affiliation
PSE
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2008-09-01
End date
2010-07-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This article provides evidence that schools can influence parents' involvement in education, and this has causal effects on pupils' behaviour. Furthermore, it shows how the impact of more involved parents on their children is amplified at the class level by peer group interaction. We build on a large-scale controlled experiment run in a French deprived educational district, where parents of middle-school children were invited to participate in a simple program of parent–school meetings on how to get better involved in their children's education. At the end of the school year, we find that treated families have increased their school-and home-based involvement activities. In turn, pupils of treatment classes have developed more positive behaviour and attitudes in school, notably in terms of truancy and disciplinary sanctions (with effects-size around 15% of a standard deviation). However, test scores did not improve under the intervention. Our results suggest that parents are an input for schooling policies and it is possible to influence important aspects of the schooling process at low cost.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Avvisati, Francesco et al. 2014. "Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools." AEA RCT Registry. August 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.225-1.0.
Former Citation
Avvisati, Francesco et al. 2014. "Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools." AEA RCT Registry. August 13. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/225/history/2433.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The experimental program consisted mainly of a sequence of three meetings, which took place every 2–3 weeks, between November and December (early January in some cases). Only parents were invited to these meetings and not their children. Sessions started at 6 pm at the school and lasted typically 2 h. Most of the time, they were conducted by the school head. He or she could draw on precise guidelines, designed by the districts’ educational experts, and show excerpts from a specially conceived DVD introducing the main actors in middle schools, and what is at stake in this stage of education. The two initial sessions of the program focused on how parents can help their children by participating at school and at home in their education. The last session took place after the first class council and end-of-term report card. It offered parents advice on how to adapt to the results of the first term.
Intervention Start Date
2008-11-01
Intervention End Date
2009-01-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
School behavior records (absenteism, displinary marks, disciplinary sanctions...) and school achievement records
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Just after the start of academic year, in September 2008, the 34 schools which participated in the trial advertised the program to the families of their 6th graders. Parents were invited to participation in the program. By mid-October 2008, each school listed all families who signed up, and closed the registration phase. This list defines the population that we call “volunteer families”. The families who did not enroll for the program define a second distinct population called the "non volunteer families". Randomization took place as soon as the registration phase was closed (mid-October). As all schools in the sample have several 6th grade classes, randomization was at the class level, within schools.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Classes
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
183 classes in 34 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
4308 students, 970 volunteer families
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
96 in treatment, 87 in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
23.1% of a standard deviation (on volunteer, full compliance, ICC absenteism)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Comité d'Ethique de J-PAL Europe
IRB Approval Date
2009-05-07
IRB Approval Number
none
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
November 01, 2008, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
July 01, 2010, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
183 classes
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Depending on the variable considered. For instance, 4117 and 34 schools on behavioral score, 3147 students 26 and schools on absenteeism ...
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
96 classes in treatment , 87 classes in control
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
This article provides evidence that schools can influence parents' involvement in education, and this has causal effects on pupils' behaviour. Furthermore, it shows how the impact of more involved parents on their children is amplified at the class level by peer group interaction. We build on a large-scale controlled experiment run in a French deprived educational district, where parents of middle-school children were invited to participate in a simple program of parent–school meetings on how to get better involved in their children's education. At the end of the school year, we find that treated families have increased their school-and home-based involvement activities. In turn, pupils of treatment classes have developed more positive behaviour and attitudes in school, notably in terms of truancy and disciplinary sanctions (with effects-size around 15% of a standard deviation). However, test scores did not improve under the intervention. Our results suggest that parents are an input for schooling policies and it is possible to influence important aspects of the schooling process at low cost.
Citation
Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools, F. Avvisati, M. Gurgand, N. Guyon, E. Maurin, Review of Economic Studies (2014) 81 (1): 57-83.