DP8020 Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools.

Author(s): Francesco Avvisati, Marc Gurgand, Nina Guyon, Eric Maurin
Publication Date: September 2010
Keyword(s): Child support, Classroom Peer-Effects, Cluster Randomized Trial, Parental Involvement
JEL(s): I21, J13, J18
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8020

This paper presents a randomized field experiment conducted in a set of French middle schools located in a deprived educational district near Paris. Parents in test groups were invited to participate in a simple program of training sessions on how to get better involved in their children’s education. At the end of the school-year, we find that treated families effectively increased their school- and home-based involvement activities. Children of families who were directly targeted by the program developed more positive behavior and attitudes in school, and had less literacy problems. Importantly, for all behavioral outcomes we find large spillover effects of the program on classmates of treated families. This experiment proves that schools are able to increase parents' awareness and that parental inputs have strong effects on pupil behavior. Our results on spillovers demonstrate that similar initiatives can be effective even in case of low parental take-up of the program.