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Parent Engagement and Action for Kindergarten Success (PEAKS)
Initial registration date
July 24, 2020
February 24, 2021 11:39 AM EST
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The University of Chicago
Other Primary Investigator(s)
The University of Chicago
Additional Trial Information
Parent Engagement and Action for Kindergarten Success (PEAKS), a pilot of a new intervention, aims to improve the school readiness of low-income children not enrolled in preschool. PEAKS will use behavioral tools designed to increase parent engagement to build child skills in the home. The pilot will focus on three aspects of this program in preparation for a full RCT. These are 1) the feasibility and efficacy of two behavioral tools that address different cognitive barriers to low-income parents’ engagement with their children: namely, present bias and identity salience, 2) the feasibility of recruiting and retaining low-income parents of children not enrolled in preschool, and 3) the feasibility and credibility of different measures of parental engagement. This pilot will inform a full RCT expected to be fielded in 2022.
Kalil, Ariel and Michelle Park Michelini. 2021. "Parent Engagement and Action for Kindergarten Success (PEAKS)." AEA RCT Registry. February 24.
The sample is 150 residents of the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) who are primary caregivers of 3-6 year old children not enrolled in preschool. The intervention will last 12 weeks and will be delivered by text message. The intervention aims to increase parent responsiveness to tips and suggested activities for engaging with their child at home in order to improve the child's school readiness.
The sample is randomized into a control group and two treatment groups. One treatment group receives reminders intended to overcome present bias and the other receives messages aimed at invoking a parent identity. During the first 6 weeks, the two treatment groups receive messages aligned with their behavioral treatment arm and the control group receives no messages. During the last 6 weeks, the two treatment groups continue to receive their respective behavioral messages, and all participant groups are asked to complete simulated parent engagement tasks. These last 6 weeks constitute the assessment period and the simulated tasks which ask for a response from participants are the outcome variable.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome variable of the experiment is the number of responses received to parent engagement tasks administered via text message during the last 6 weeks of the intervention, which is the assessment period. The goal is to determine whether reminder messages, identity priming messages, both, or neither type of behavioral message, results in a higher response rate to parent engagement tasks. The broader goal for this pilot is to inform a full RCT expected to be fielded in 2022, which aims to find the most effective type of messaging to engage parents of 3-6 year olds who are not enrolled in preschool at home in order to improve their children's school readiness.
The pilot will focus on three aspects in preparation for a full RCT. These are 1) the feasibility and efficacy of two behavioral tools that address different cognitive barriers to low-income parents’ engagement with their children: namely, present bias and identity salience, 2) the feasibility of recruiting and retaining low-income parents of children not enrolled in preschool, and 3) the feasibility and credibility of different measures of parental engagement.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We are partnering with the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) to recruit 100 to 150 parents of preschool age children who are not currently enrolled in preschool. Recruited parents are consented and randomized into two treatment groups and one control group. We are surveying parents online for basic demographic and contact information or collecting administration data if it is possible. The intervention lasts for 12 weeks. During that time, we text parents in the two treatment groups for 6 weeks with messages that are either aimed at overcoming present bias or invoking a parent identity depending on the treatment group. We do not text the control group during the first 6 weeks other than to obtain consent and gather demographic data. After 6 weeks of texting the treatment groups, we begin to assess treatment effects. Testing outcomes for 6 weeks allows us to observe changes in the outcome variable for half of the intervention period. Each week for the last 6 weeks we ask parents in both the treatment groups and the control group to participate in simulated engagement tasks. Parents in the two treatment groups continue to receive two text messages per week containing the behavioral tools for their treatment group during the assessment period. The simulated engagement tasks are the outcome variable.
This pilot study tests three aspects of the anticipated full RCT. The first is our ability to recruit and retain a large a sample of low-income parents of children not enrolled in preschool through a housing authority. Second, we will use the pilot to refine the behavioral tools. Third, we will refine the objective measures of parental engagement.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization is completed using statistical software such as Stata or R and balance tests are conducted using the available demographic variables.
Randomization is at the family level. One primary caregiver per family can be enrolled in the study.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 control families, 50 present-bias (reminder) families, 50 identity primer families
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
University of Chicago Social & Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number