Promoting Parental Involvement in Schools (News and Research 220)

Promoting Parental Involvement in Schools: The AGE Program In Mexico

Promoting Parental Involvement in Schools: Evidence From Two Randomized Experiments | NBER Working Paper Series No. 28040 | Parental involvement programs aim to increase school-and-parent communication and support children’s overall learning environment. This paper examines the effects of low-cost, group-based parental involvement interventions in Mexico using data from two randomized controlled trials. The first experiment provided financial resources to parent associations. The second experiment provided information to parents about how to support their children’s learning. Overall, the interventions induced different types of parental engagement in schools. The information intervention changed parenting behavior at home – with large effects among indigenous parents who have historically been discriminated and socially excluded – and improved student behavior in school. The grants did not impact parent or student behaviors. Notably, we do not find impacts of either intervention on educational achievement. To understand these null effects, we explore how social ties between parents and teachers evolved over the course of the two interventions. Parental involvement interventions led to significant changes in perceived trustworthiness between teachers and parents. The results suggest that parental involvement interventions can backfire if institutional rules are unclear about the expectations of parents and teachers as parents increase their involvement in schools. (Also Promoting Parental Involvement in Schools: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 9462). Previous coverage: from The Economist (May 2011): Education in Mexico: Schooling the whole family; from the Christian Science Monitor (May 2012): The PTA arrives in Mexico’s schools. Evaluation of the underlying program: Gertler, P.J., H.A. Patrinos, M. Rubio-Codina. 2012. “Empowering parents to improve education: Evidence from rural Mexico.” Journal of Development Economics 99(1): 68-79 – The program reduced grade failure by 7.4% and grade repetition by 5.5% in grades 1 through 3.

AGEs in action – Campeche, Mexico

From: Nuno Crato, former Minister of Education, Portugal Curriculum and Educational Reforms in Portugal: An Analysis on Why and How Students’ Knowledge and Skills Improved | By the turn of the century, following the dismal first results in TIMSS and PISA, the Portuguese educational system was at a crossroads. It was clear that students were not attaining minimal levels of proficiency in reading, math, science, and other basic subjects. The system needed a deep reshaping, and so changes were made. By the time the last PISA and TIMSS international large-scale surveys’ results were released in 2015, Portugal registered a quantum leap: in PISA, student achievement was above the OECD average and in TIMSS, 4th graders had higher scores in Mathematics than several usually high-performing countries, including Finland. How was this possible? To understand what happened, we need to look at what Portugal has done in the last 10–15 years. Although many different ministers from different ideological standpoints made different reforms, there is a common thread to most changes: they paid increased attention to results. This proved to be a powerful thrust for improvement, backed up by experienced teachers. However, this general thrust assumed many concrete different aspects and promoted different reforms. During the 2011–2015 period, these reforms went further and were very clear, intentional, and explicit: a clear curriculum, increased school autonomy, students’ regular assessment, vocational paths, flexibility. All this helped to prepare youngsters for an active, productive, and responsible life in the twenty-first century.

From: Nuno Crato, former Minister of Education, Portugal, and Paolo Paruolo — The Power of Microdata: An Introduction | Policy-making is a process guided by ethical values, diverse interests and evidence. It is motivated by political convictions, limited by available resources, guided by assumptions and supported by theoretical considerations. It is also bound by reality checks, which are sometimes reassuring, at other times bring unexpected results, but which are in all cases beneficial. Economists and social scientists have theoretical models that help assess the intended effect of policies. Given policy goals, these models guide the choice of intervention, such as public investment, changes in the reference interest rate or reformulations of market regulations. However, theory has its limits and can clash with reality. In modern democracies, a comparison of expressed intentions with actual results is increasingly required by citizens, the media, political groups and policy-makers alike, and rightly so. As Milton Friedman, the 1976 Nobel Laureate in Economics, once said, ‘One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results’.

More evidence on learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic:Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: It Is Not Who You Teach, but How You Teach | We use standardized end-of-course knowledge assessments to examine student learning during the disruptions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Examining seven economics courses taught at four US R1 institutions, we find that students performed substantially worse, on average, in Spring 2020 when compared to Spring or Fall 2019. We find no evidence that the effect was driven by specific demographic groups. However, our results suggest that teaching methods that encourage active engagement, such as the use of small group activities and projects, played an important role in mitigating this negative effect. Our results point to methods for more effective online teaching as the pandemic continues.

Private and Social Returns to Investment in Education: the Case of Turkey with Alternative Methods | withGeorge Psacharopoulos & Aysit Tansel | Published online: 04 Nov 2020 | Applied Economics DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2020.1841086 | This paper estimates private and social returns to investment in education in Turkey, using the 2017 Household Labour Force Survey (latest available at the time of writing) and alternative methodologies. The analysis uses the 1997 education reform of increasing compulsory education by three years as an instrument. This results in a private rate of return on the order of 16% for higher education and a social return of 10%. Using the number of children younger than age 15 in the household as an exclusion restriction, sample selection correction is applied, and it shows that the returns to education for females are higher than those for males. Contrary to many findings in other countries, private returns to those working in the public sector are higher than those in the private sector, and private returns to those who followed the vocational track in secondary education are higher than those in the general academic track. The paper discusses the policy implications of the findings. (Working paper)

Education, Not Just Wages, Contribute to Emerging Europe’s Medical Brain Drain | Covid-19 is laying bare the multiple pitfalls of the current socio-economic system across much of emerging Europe. Among them, the pandemic has highlighted that the management of healthcare workers and the institutional framework regulating their education are inadequate.

Lessons from Estonia: Why It Excels at Digital Learning During Covid | As hundreds of thousands of children in the UK found themselves shut out of education during lockdown, without access to a laptop or internet, pupils in Estonia reaped the rewards of the Baltic country’s long-term investment in digital learning.

OECD Effective Learning Environments e-Newsletter October 2020