Data reveals patterns that can inform recommendations to strengthen relationships between educators and families.
San Francisco, California, October 3, 2023 — TalkingPoints, an education technology nonprofit that improves student outcomes by facilitating effective partnerships between families and their children’s schools, announced today the findings from a research initiative to better understand the content of the millions of conversations on its platform. They analyzed de-identified data consisting of 40,000,000 messages sent over a 15-month period.
Using Google’s AutoML service and repositories like TweetEval, they were able to categorize each of the 40 million messages according to topic (e.g., academics, behavior, logistics, etc.) and tone (positive or negative). Below is a summary of the findings:
- Finding 1: Most conversations between teachers and families were about something other than student learning. More than three out of four messages – 78% – discussed logistics (“The homework is on Google Classroom.”) or were standard replies (“Thanks for the update.”). Meanwhile, only eight percent of conversations focused on academics; two percent discussed behavior.
- Finding 2: Overall, we found a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative messages. The conversations about academics, homework, and assessment were largely positive in tone (91% and 87%, respectively). By contrast, fewer conversations about behavior and class participation were positive. Only 57% of messages about class participation and 56% about behavior were positive.
Based on these findings, TalkingPoints recommends the following to increase emphasis on the high-impact conversation practices that lead to improved student outcomes.
- Prioritize opportunities to discuss student learning and behavior: Educators should intentionally connect with each family regularly and consistently to share information about their student’s learning and behavior and to learn more about each student’s needs.
- Give praise as often as you can: Research shows that sharing positive behavior feedback with families helps spark more conversations at home between families and students, which in turn encourages students to feel more motivated and engaged in their learning. Sharing positive messages early and often about student behavior and engagement can help educators build relationships with families and motivate students.
“As a non-profit, we are able to invest in research and share what we learn. We are committed to equipping schools and districts with actionable strategies they can use to build strong family-school partnerships,” said Heejae Lim, TalkingPoints Founder and CEO.
For more information, please download the full report here.
TalkingPoints is an education technology nonprofit that drives student success by removing critical barriers to equitable family-school partnerships, such as language, time, mindsets, and capacity. Ten of the country’s twenty largest school districts trust TalkingPoints to create a district culture where all families, no matter their background, can engage with their schools. Our simple, intuitive family engagement platform offers the highest-quality human- and AI-powered two-way translated communication available — in 150 languages and counting. Named by Common Sense Education as “the best overall family communication platform for teachers and schools”, TalkingPoints leads to higher test scores and lower absenteeism, as shown by rigorous causal research that meets the ESSA Tier 2 standard of evidence. To learn more, view our TED Talk or visit talkingpts.org