Policy Documents

The Effects of Parent Training Programs on Child Performance and Parent Behavior

Barbara Goodson and Robert Hess –
January 1, 1976

This paper reviews the efforts of 28 intervention programs designed to train parents to teach school-related skills to their young children. Programs reviewed range from the federally funded Home Start program to non-funded programs run locally by volunteers. Evaluations of the 28 programs, which were designed and carried out by the program staffs, were examined for evidence of immediate and long-term impact on intelligence test performance and school achievement. The summary of evaluation results is organized by three major topics: the immediate and long-term effects of individual programs; the contribution of features of the parent participation activities to program effectiveness; and the effects of programs upon parent behavior. Nearly all programs produced significant immediate gains; the programs that carried out follow-up testing showed that program children retained an advantage in IQ score and school achievement over comparison children in elementary school. The magnitude of gains was found to be only modestly related to five variables of program format and content. A short review of the history of parent education programs and a list of the programs reviewed are also included.