Bringing Parents to the Education Table
Last registered on August 13, 2014


Trial Information
General Information
Bringing Parents to the Education Table
Initial registration date
March 12, 2014
Last updated
August 13, 2014 10:01 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
J-PAL Europe/PSE
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Aarhus University
PI Affiliation
Paris School of Economics
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In South Africa, the lack of parental involvement in their child’s education is largely due to the significant barriers to participation that parents face, which include: linguistic and literacy barriers, logistical constraints (many parents commute long distances to work), and social barriers (as working-class parents may feel discouraged by the bureaucratic jargon and hierarchical frame of the education system). Increasing parental involvement has been widely touted as a means of overcoming the difficulties of low attendance, and poor quality learning which plagues many classrooms. However, it is still not clear whether parental involvement programs are a direct cause of children’s success, or whether these programs simply selectively attract parents who are already motivated to be engaged in their children’s success. Can parental involvement be used as a lever to improve educational outcomes in underprivileged areas of Port Elizabeth, South Africa?
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Bouguen, Adrien, Kamilla Gumede and Marc Gurgand. 2014. "Bringing Parents to the Education Table." AEA RCT Registry. August 13.
Former Citation
Bouguen, Adrien et al. 2014. "Bringing Parents to the Education Table." AEA RCT Registry. August 13.
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Experimental Details
The intervention consists in three parent meetings held by a voluntary Grade 4 or Grade 5 teacher. After the first term, the parents were invited to register for the meetings and were requested to attend at least two of them. The voluntary teachers were trained by the General Motor's Foundation for South Africa, a NGO that has been involved in parenting for several years in the school district of Port Elisabeth.

The meetings covered several aspects of parental involvement at home and at school. During the first session, parents and teachers discussed about parenting at home (what's parenting? What is a role model? Importance of routines at home). The second session was about parenting and school:understanding the subjects taught at school and the way they are assessed, importance of parental support to succeed at school and how to effectively help their child. The third session gave an action plan to improve parenting, and highlighted the importance of encouragement and praise.

Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Attendance Rates; Test Scores; Parental Involvement (self reported and proxied*), teacher involvement self reported
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Parental involvement will be assessed using the endline pupil assessment. We provide to half the parents (randomly choosen) the questions and answers of the pupil assessement and ask them to prepare their child to the test. This second randomization is expected to generated a higher level of involvement on parents that received the treatment.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
1°) Before Randomization
Before randomization and in each schools included in the experimental population, we identified a list of G4 or G5 teachers willing to facilitate the three meetings and be trained by the NGO. We also identified a list of parents, whose child is enrolled in a G4 or a G5 classes.

This design allows identifying 4 pairs of comparable groups:
(1) the learners whose teacher is a facilitator and his parent is voluntary to attend the meeting
(2) the learners whose teacher is not a facilitator but his parent is voluntary to attend the meeting
(3) the learners whose teacher is a facilitator but parents did not volunteer for the meeting
(4) the learners whose teacher is not a facilitator but parents did not volunteer for the meeting

2°) After Randomization
Randomization at school level creates for each of these sub-group in the treatment group a relevant counterfactual in the control group.
Hence, by comparing group 1 in treatment and control we get the direct effect of the program on the learners whose teacher is a facilitator and parent is voluntary to attend the meeting etc... We can also pool group 1 and 2 and estimate on them the effect of the program on the volunteer parents (direct treatment effect) while pooling 3 and 4 would allow estimation of the program's impact on the non volunteer parents (spill over of the program).

3°) Randomizing information
In addition to randomizing schools, for the learners whose parents were volunteer, we have also randomized the information provided to parents about the achievement test organized at the end of the school year. Half of the volunteer parents were informed about the achievement test content and were advised to help their child preparing for it. We believe that this second round of randomization at the individual level should provides sufficient variation to estimate the "realized" parental involvement (as opposed to the self-declared parental involvement that can be assessed from questionnaires).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
83 Schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
14,000 Students; 14,000 Parents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
41 Treatment Schools (Receive Parental Workshops)
42 Control Schools
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
20% of a sd full compliance, ICC=10%
IRB Name
The University of Cape Town, South Africa
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers