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Parents' Briefcase

Evidence level:
Best PracticePromising PracticeEmergent Practice
 
Evidence of Effectiveness:
?-0+++
Transferability:
?-0+
Enduring Impact:
?-0+
Review criteria and process

Policy category

Supporting Parenting and Assisting with Childcare

Recommendation Pillars

Enhance family support and the quality of alternative care settings, Improve education systems’ impact on equal opportunities, Reduce inequality at a young age by investing in early childhood education and care

Countries that have implemented practice

France

Age Groups

Adults (age 20+), Teenagers (age 13 to 19)

Target Groups

Children, Parents

Years in Operation

2008  - still operating

Type of Organization Implementing Practice

State/district or Other Sub-national Government

Practice Overview

La Mallette des parents' [the parents' briefcase] is an ongoing project that aims to involve parents more in their children's education in around 80 schools in France. It is run by the Academie de Creteil, which comes under the direct authority of the France's Ministry for Education. The programme was set up to improve relations between parents and teachers and to help parents understand more about how their child is taught so that they can contribute to their child's success at school.

Enduring Impact

No follow-up study could be found.

Transferability

Another evaluation by J-Pal is ongoing in a different French school district (Versailles), the results of which are forthcoming. For more information about the evaluation, see: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/information-and-referrals-end-middle-school-france.

Programme materials are available to facilitate programme replication; see for example the website by the Creteil School District: http://www.ac-creteil.fr/equite-participation-mallettedesparents.html.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Avvisati, F., Gurgand, M., Guyon, N., Maurin, E., Quels effets attendre d’une politique d’implication des parents d’élèves dans les collèges ? Les enseignements d’une expérimentation contrôlée. Rapport pour le Haut Commissaire a la Jeunesse. Paris School of Economics, 2010.pdf

Relevant information regarding timing of evaluation or measurement of outcomes:

These results are based on a randomized control trial implemented in 2008-2009 in 200 sixth-grade classes. Children are usually between the ages of 11 and 12 in sixth grade. Half of the classes in which at least one family volunteered to participate were randomly selected to be part of the treatment group, while the other half was assigned to the control group.

Summary of results

Outcome

Treatment-Control (% of st.dev.)

Statistical Significance

Standard error

Overall involvement score

0.266

**

0.071

Institutional involvement score

0.0320

**

0.076

Number of individual meetings with teachers

0.056

*

0.033

Participation to parents’ organization meetings

0.083

**

0.026

Participation to parent/teacher meetings organized by the school

0.111

**

0.032

Involvement at home score

0.103

*

0.057

Control of television watching in the evening (child does not watch television after 9 pm)

0.011

NS

0.035

Control of video games (child does not spend more than one hour per day on video games)

0.004

NS

0.023

Parent shows precise knowledge of child’s grades

0.052

**

0.025

Parent helps occasionally with homework

0.027

NS

0.019

Knowledge and perception score

0.184

**

0.071

Parent knows the different curriculum options

0.093

**

0.028

Parent has never been afraid of violence in school

0.014

NS

0.028

Parent has somewhat clear ideas about orientation after high school

0.048

NS

0.031

Parent is satisfied with the high school

0.048

**

0.021

Lack of call-up due to disciplinary problems

0.077

**

0.029

Number of missed school half days

-0.711

**

0.296

Grade in French

0.127

**

0.052

Grade in Math

0.022

NS

0.051

Standardized test result in French

-0.009

NS

0.052

Standardized test result in Math

-0.017

NS

0.053

Note: *: statistically significant at the 10% level, **: statistically significant at the 5% level.

Issues to consider

This was an independent evaluation performed by J-Pal (the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab), a network of professors, affiliated with the Paris School of Economics.

Contact Information

Name

 Marc Dreyfuss

Title

 Proviseur vie scolair

Organization

 Rectorat de Cretiel

Address

 4 rue Georges Enesco

Phone

 0033 1 57 02 68 45

Email

 ce.cvs@ac-creteil.fr

Website

Available Resources

An English summary of the programme is available here: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/publication/getting-parents-involved

Evaluation Details

At the beginning of the 2008–2009 school year parents in 200 sixth-grade classes were asked to volunteer for a programme of three facilitated discussions with the school staff on how to successfully navigate the transition to middle school. Around 1,000 parents (22 percent of the total) volunteered for the programme, understanding that, because of the experimental nature of the programme, only some volunteers would be selected to participate.

In a randomly selected 102 of the 200 classes, the parents who had previously volunteered were invited to participate in the discussions. By randomly selecting a subset of all the parents willing to participate in the programme, the researchers were able to compare parents who participated to a valid comparison group: parents who would have participated in the programme had they been given the opportunity. This allowed researchers to separate the effects of the programme from the effect of parents’ preexisting involvement in their children’s education.

Meetings took place in November and December of 2008, and data on parental involvement, student behavior, and test scores was collected several months later at the end of the academic year.

Take-up of the programme was low, with 22 percent of parents volunteering for the programme. In the selected classes, around 58 percent of these attended at least one of the discussions and 16 percent attended all three. This imperfect attendance means that the significant differences observed between classes were driven by the small proportion of parents who actually attended meetings.  Overall, there were no strong observable differences between volunteer and non-volunteer parents. Parents of boys and girls volunteered equally, and the children’s previous test scores were similar. Volunteers tended to be slightly wealthier than their non-volunteer counterparts, but the differences were small: they were 3 percent more likely to have white-collar occupations and were 4 percent more likely to be from a two-parent household.

Parents in the selected classes who had volunteered to attend changed their behavior significantly in response to the programme. These parents were more likely to make individual appointments with teachers and more likely to participate in parents’ organizations. On a questionnaire of their involvement in children’s education at home, these parents also scored one-tenth of a standard deviation higher than their volunteer counterparts in comparison classes. This change in parental involvement is of the same magnitude as the initial gap in involvement between blue-collar and white-collar families. However, there were no changes in parental involvement among parents in the selected classes who had not volunteered for the meetings (J-PAL, 2011).

Bibliography

Avvisati, F., Gurgand, M., Guyon, N., Maurin, E., Quels effets attendre d’une politique d’implication des parents d’élèves dans les collèges ? Les enseignements d’une expérimentation contrôlée. Rapport pour le Haut Commissaire a la Jeunesse. Paris School of Economics, 2010.pdf

 “Getting parents involved”, J-PAL Briefcase, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, 2011, available at http://www.povertyactionlab.org/publication/getting-parents-involved

Date

Last updated: September 2012