Simple, low-cost interventions have an outsized impact on critical student outcomes. In recent studies, education researchers have targeted the effect of parent and student engagement on areas like attendance, academic performance, and college matriculation—and found that text messaging provides a channel for delivering timely, accessible information to key stakeholders.
"...many teachers and families are enthusiastic about using texting and view texting as a tool to further family-school engagement and communication and to enhance child outcomes." (Snell 2020)
Years of research supports this idea: Students benefit when teachers and parents connect easily and often. In one study, researchers designed a program that sent families regular updates about student progress, resulting in improvements in areas like GPA and standardized test scores (Bergman 2015).
More recently, a study concluded that text message updates, in addition to other frequent communication about grades, attendance, and assignments between school and families, reduced the likelihood of drug use among middle schoolers (Bergman, et al, 2019).
More information allows parents to induce more effort from their children, which translates into significant gains in achievement. (Bergman 2015)
Using Remind for targeted interventions
As the primary communication channel in these studies, text messaging has several advantages. While most Americans do have cell phones, 15% do not own a smartphone and 23% do not have broadband internet service (Pew Research, 2021). This means that SMS text messages, which can be sent and received on regular cell phones, are accessible across the socioeconomic spectrum.
Effective interventions also require the ability to target specific audiences and track engagement over time. Along with text message notifications, Remind offers an integrated communication platform that allows administrators to automatically create classes, monitor reach and engagement across their communities, and support a wide range of message types and content.
With students from diverse backgrounds, Milwaukee Public Schools implemented Remind districtwide to improve family engagement with individualized communication.
Our challenge was figuring out a way for families to connect with the person they view as the most important person in our district: their child’s teacher.
– Danielle Costello, Family & Community Engagement Specialist
At Poinciana High School, the Student Services Department used Remind to reach and support a pilot group of chronically absent students, improving attendance by 60%.
I could use our content management system to connect with students, but bottom line: it’s not as user-friendly as Remind.
– Michael Meechin, principal
Sources and further reading
Kraft, 2013. The Effect of Teacher-Family Communication on Student Engagement: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment.
Bergman, 2015. Parent-Child Information Frictions and Human Capital Investment: Evidence from a Field Experiment.
Castleman, 2014. Summer Nudging: Can Personalized Text Messages and Peer Mentor Outreach Increase College Going AmongLow-Income High School Graduates?
Bergman, et al, 2019. Engaging Parents to Prevent Adolescent Substance Use: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Snell, 2020. Exploring the use of texting to support family-school engagement in early childhood settings: teacher and family perspectives
Pew Research, 2021. Mobile Fact Sheet
Pew Research, 2021. Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet