San Francisco, CA — Today, TalkingPoints released a new causal research study, Engaging Families Leads to Student Academic Gains and Increased Attendance, which found that using TalkingPoints leads to higher test scores, course proficiency improvements, and lower absenteeism rates in a large urban, diverse school district. These gains are even more pronounced for traditionally underserved students, including Black students, Latino students, students with disabilities, and English language learners.
The study found statistically significant improvements on state standardized tests. Overall, students saw higher math test scores by 9%, a gain that represents 7 months of additional learning for the average student.
“This research highlights that building meaningful family-school partnerships is no longer a nice-to-have practice, but should be an integral initiative in every school to improve the academic and wellbeing of students,” says Heejae Lim, founder and CEO of TalkingPoints. “Thanks to the influx of federal dollars to mitigate pandemic learning loss, we are starting to see more district leaders recognizing that family-school partnerships is a critical strategy for closing education gaps in our schools.”
The study also found using TalkingPoints resulted in course proficiency improvements in English language arts and math by 7% in both subjects. Black students had course proficiency improvements in both English language arts and math by 8%; and Latino students had course proficiency improvements in English language arts and math by 10% and 11%, respectively. English language learners saw course proficiency improvements by 12% in both subjects.
Finally, the study found a decrease of 15% in the student absenteeism rate for district schools using TalkingPoints compared to those not using TalkingPoints. These attendance improvements were greater among traditionally underserved students.
For Black students, absenteeism rates decreased by 22%. For Latino students, the decrease was 17%. For students with disabilities, the decrease was 25%, and for English Language Learners, the decrease was 18%.
The findings are statistically significant and control for individual characteristics, including race and ethnicity, English language learner status, grade, and special education status, as well as school characteristics, including demographics, enrollment, and free and reduced priced lunch rates. It also controlled for non-varying school characteristics like Title I status and time differences.
“Schools must create strong partnerships with families to accelerate learning and wellbeing gains for all students, while also closing the gap for the most traditionally underserved students. Systematically breaking down barriers to effective family engagement through an intervention like TalkingPoints is an effective and cost-efficient strategy,” said Lim.
Based on this research’s findings, TalkingPoints recommends schools, districts, and communities integrate family-school partnerships as a key lever in improving student outcomes:
- Integrate family engagement as a part of districts’ strategic plans and recognize family engagement as a core tool to improve student academic and wellbeing outcomes.
- Prioritize communication with families as a strategy in school and district improvement plans to improve student attendance.
- Ensure all teachers and relevant staff have access to a technology platform that removes barriers to engaging all families and allows for effective communication.
- Provide ongoing professional development to teachers and staff about how to leverage families to support student outcomes.
The study looked at student achievement and absenteeism rate over multiple years in a large U.S. urban school district that serves 30,000 students, 90% of whom identify as students of color and 70% of who are from low-income households. Three in 10 students are English language learners and 15% are students with disabilities.
The study analyzed student-level data, including standards-based grades and state standardized assessments. “Engaging Families Leads to Student Academic Gains and Increased Attendance” is a quasi-experimental study that meets the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Tier 2 standard of evidence.
Download the research to learn more at https://talkingpts.org/research/.
TalkingPoints is an education technology nonprofit that supports school districts in connecting families and teachers for the success and wellbeing of each and every student. TalkingPoints’ multilingual platform uses two-way translated communication and personalized content in more than 145 languages to facilitate meaningful family-school partnerships. Fueling this unique approach is a relentless focus on eliminating barriers to engaging families, including language, time, mindsets, and capacity. For additional information about TalkingPoints, please visit www.talkingpts.org.