Several studies have used regular text messages to reach students and their parents to address academic performance. Matthew Kraft of Brown University and Todd Rogers of Harvard University conducted a double blind study of 435 at-risk, minority, low-income students participating in a summer credit recovery program to pass and get credit for a previously failed high school course in order to graduate. During the school year, the average attendance rate was 88.89 percent for these students. Over the five-week program, parents were placed in one of three groups, “control,” that received no additional messages, “positive,” messages such as “Johnny was a great participant in class discussions this week, keep it up!” and “areas of improvement” with messages such as “Tina forgot to turn in two homework assignments this week. Please do better.” Each weekly message was 10 words or less on average. “Messages decreased the percentage of students who failed to earn course credit from 15.8 percent [control group] to 9.3 percent [areas of improvement message group] and 41 percent reduction” in failure, and the students that received messages with an actionable suggestion had an increase attendance of 3.2 percent over the control group. The authors note that “reduced student absenteeism appears to be a key student behavior affected by messages.” Present180 is a text messaging solution that uses this research and others as the foundation of its program.
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