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 students. 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 randomized 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. Students 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. Student achievement outcomes were measured using standardized test scores.
Overall, test scores of students 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 students 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 behavior and confidence of their children.