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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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The New & Noteworthy section features an annotated list of papers, organizations, and initiatives related to the issue’s theme.

Barton, P. E. (2003). Parsing the achievement gap: Baselines for tracking progress. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. This report synthesizes a large body of research on home and school factors associated with educational attainment, including parent availability, parent participation, and reading to young children. The report then looks at the differential impacts for each factor by racial/ethnic and socioeconomic group.

Boethel, M. (2004). Readiness: School, family, and community connections. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. This report synthesizes 48 research studies on the contextual factors associated with children’s school readiness and discusses the effectiveness of a variety of early childhood or preschool interventions that include a family or community focus.

Dearing, E., McCartney, K., Weiss, H. B., Kreider, H., & Simpkins, S. (2004). The promotive effects of family educational involvement for low-income children’s literacy. Journal of School Psychology, 42(6), 445–460. This study analyzes longitudinal data on the impact of family educational involvement on the literacy achievement of low-income children. Findings show more positive associations between involvement and children’s literacy for children of less educated mothers, and associations were mediated through children’s feelings about literacy.

The December 2004 issue of Pediatrics features two studies that found benefits to mothers years after participation in home-visiting programs: Olds, D. L., Kitzman, H., Cole, R., Robinson, J., Sidora, K., Luckey, D. W., et al. (2004). Effects of nurse home-visiting on maternal life course and child development: Age 6 follow-up results of a randomized trial; and Olds, D. L., Robison, J., Pettitt, L., Luckey, D. W., Holmberg, J., Ng, R. K., et al. (2004). Effects of home visits by paraprofessionals and by nurses: Age 4 follow-up results of a randomized trial.

Desforges, C., & Abouchaar, A. (2003). The impact of parental involvement, parental support, and family education on pupil achievements and adjustment: A literature review (Research Report No. 433). London: Department for Education and Skills. This report reviews research on the impact of spontaneous parent involvement in education and evaluations of parent involvement programs and interventions.

Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate, and Practice. This new journal focuses on the relationship between research evidence and the concerns of policymakers and practitioners across a wide range of social and public policy issues. The first issue is being released in January 2005.

James, D. W., & Partee, G. (2003). No more islands: Family involvement in 27 school and youth programs. Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum. This report reviews 27 evaluations of school and youth programs with family involvement components, describes effective family involvement strategies, and concludes that family context is important to school and youth programming.

Kalafat, J. (2004). Enabling and empowering practices of Kentucky’s school-based Family Resource Centers: A multiple case study. Evaluation and Program Planning, 27(1), 65–78. This article describes a multiple case study that was one component of a multimethod evaluation of Kentucky’s statewide, school-based Family Resource Centers program. The case studies, which describe family interventions and their outcomes, were used to develop training materials for program coordinators.

Penuel, W. R., Kim, D., Michalchik, V., Lewis, S., Means, B., Murphy, R., et al. (2002). Using technology to enhance connections between home and school: A research synthesis. Prepared for the Planning and Evaluation Services, U.S. Department of Education. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Intended to serve as a guide for policymaking and future evaluation, this report synthesizes research and evaluations on the use of technology to link home and school.

Sheldon, S., & Van Voorhis, F. (2004). Partnership programs in U.S. schools: Their development and relationship to family involvement outcomes. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 15(2), 125–148. This article examines the characteristics of schools that develop high quality family, school, and community partnerships. Analyses indicate the importance of collegial support and onsite evaluations for developing quality programs.

Shepard, J., & Carlson, J. S. (2003). An empirical evaluation of school-based prevention programs that involve parents. Psychology in the Schools, 40(6), 641–656. This review of 20 prevention programs involving parents provides evidence for the effectiveness of incorporating parental involvement in school-based programs.

Solloway, M., & Girouard, S. (2004). Voices of change for Connecticut’s children: Promoting parent leadership and civic literacy: An evaluation of the Connecticut Commission on Children’s Parent Leadership Training Institute. Hartford: Connecticut Commission on Children. The Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) seeks to enable parents to become leading advocates and change agents for their children through a 20-week course on leadership and civic engagement. According to the evaluation, participants reported becoming empowered as a result of the training and many reported positive child outcomes. For more information on PLTI go to

U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Deputy Secretary. (2004). Evaluation of the Public Charter Schools Program: Final report. Washington, DC: Author. Using data from 1999–2002, this national evaluation looks at how the Public Charter Schools Program works, the characteristics of students and families served by charter schools, and how well students perform in charter schools.

Communicating Evaluations

The Evaluation Exchange emphasizes the importance of communicating evaluation findings to practitioners and consumers of programs. Such information must be clear and concise, and delivered in a variety of media. The resources below are examples of communication activities to help practitioners use the research and evaluation knowledge base in implementing their own family-centered interventions.

The Division of Adolescent and School Health of the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) features research-based recommendations for school health programs in a series of publications called the “guidelines for school health.” “Guidelines” focus on such topics as tobacco-use prevention and the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity. Each contains recommendations covering a range of areas, including policy development, instructional strategies, staff training, family and community involvement, and evaluation. Along with the guidelines, the CDC provides a four-page summary and a two-page “how you can help” flyer for parents, teachers, students, and others working with youth.

The results from a 7-year national evaluation of Early Head Start (EHS) have important implications for program practices. To make these implications widely available and easily applicable for continuous program improvement, the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed an information kit for EHS staff, trainers, and technical assistance providers: Early Head Start Information Kit: Research to Practice Addendum—Multimedia Kit includes a four-page research brief, two PowerPoint presentations, and talking points based on the overall evaluation findings.

The Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute’s Research and Training Center on Early Childhood Development has created a series of publications that promote research-based effective practices and interventions in early childhood development. Publications include the series Bridges, which synthesizes practice-centered research on topics related to early childhood development, including parent-child relationships. Each issue is accompanied by a summary of the research syntheses, a practice guide brochure, and may include an ideas page. These last two resources offer solutions for practice, such as guiding principles, action steps, suggested phases of implementation, and evaluation ideas.

Kelly Faughnan, Research Assistant, HFRP

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