Skip Navigation

REL Central Ask A REL Response

Early Childhood

March 2019


What is the impact of home visitation in the early grades?


Following an established REL Central research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles to help answer the question. The resources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic databases, and general Internet search engines. (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. We have not evaluated the quality of the references provided in this response, and we offer them only for your information. Also, we compiled the references from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant sources may exist.

Research References

Goff Pejsa & Associates. (2014). St. Paul Federation of Teachers Parent/Teacher Home Visiting Project evaluation. Saint Paul, MN: St. Paul Federation of Teachers. Retrieved from

From the introduction:

“The purposes of the study were to:

  • demonstrate the impact of the Teacher Home Visit Program on participating students and families;
  • describe the program’s impact on teacher attitudes and assumptions about students, families, and communities;
  • explore the extent to which the program is being implemented as planned and intended;
  • better understand the key factors for program success, from both staff and families’ perspectives; and
  • identify areas for improvement and celebration.

. . . Themes that emerged across multiple methods are highlighted throughout this report; we would particularly like to draw attention to the following points:

  • Improved or enhanced relationships and connections are the most common and consistent themes discussed and reported by teachers, families, and staff participating in the program. These relationships and connections are built between home visiting teachers and their parents, students, and colleagues. Since this is a key program intent, evident in program literature, training, and activities, this finding speaks to the strength of SPFT’s program theory, design, and implementation.
  • Parents welcome home visits and have positive feedback about the program. One powerful finding is that the students have positive feelings about having a teacher visit their home–excited, enthusiastic, ecstatic, and comfortable are just some of the words used to describe how students experience the visits.
  • Participation in home visiting seems to have a positive impact on teacher job satisfaction and feelings of efficacy. Teachers report that they feel energized by the program and have seen improvements in their classroom practice using the new connections forged through home visiting.”

Johnson, E. J. (2014). From the classroom to the living room: Eroding academic inequities through home visits. Journal of School Leadership, 24(2), 357–385. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“This article illustrates the experiences of teachers who conducted home visits as a way to cultivate sustainable avenues of school–home communication with families from an immigrant and/or language-minority background. The data stemming from these experiences are used to outline a sociocultural approach to conducting home visits and strengthening relationships with parents. This particular analytical lens addresses a significant gap in the literature concerning how educators across the K–12 spectrum should implement home visits. This article is especially relevant for school administrators seeking to establish what Auerbach (2012b) calls ‘leadership for authentic partnerships’ with families and communities.”

McKnight, K., Venkateswaran, N., Laird, J., Robles, J., & Shalev, T. (2017). Mindset shifts and parent teacher home visits. Berkeley, CA: RTI International. Retrieved from

From the executive summary:

“This report summarizes findings from a study conducted by RTI International examining whether and how PTHV helps to interrupt implicit biases that educators and families may have about each other. Referred to here as mindset shifts, these changes may enable educators and families to more effectively partner to support student success. The research questions driving the study are as follows:

  1. According to the research literature, how are mindsets related to race, class, and culture formed?
  2. According to research, what are effective strategies for changing these mindsets?
  3. What reported changes in beliefs and behaviors do educators and families attribute to participating in Parent Teacher Home Visits?
  4. What aspects of Parent Teacher Home Visits support mindset shifts?

The study relies on three main sources of data: 1) research literature on the formation, maintenance, and change of implicit biases; 2) a field scan of other home visit programs; and 3) qualitative data collected from two or three schools in each of four large districts implementing PTHV. Each of the districts serves student populations that are majority students of color and majority students from low-income families. We interviewed the principals and conducted focus groups with educators and families at each school, totaling 175 PTHV participants. . . .

From the research literature we know the following:
Implicit biases are part of being human. . . .
The achievement gap can be at least partially explained by educators’ implicit biases. . . .
Implicit biases are not un-changeable. . . .

Based on interviews with 175 PTHV participants we found the following:
PTHV supports mindset shifts in ways that improve partnerships between educators and families and that are supportive of student success. . . .

By reviewing research on strategies to reduce implicit biases and interviewing participants about PTHV practices, we found the following:
The PTHV model and its core practices align well with research-supported strategies for reducing implicit biases and discriminatory behaviors.”

Sheldon, S. B., & Jung, S. B. (2015). The family engagement partnership: Student outcome evaluation. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved from

From the study overview and findings:

“In 2013, the Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University examined outcomes reported on parent and teacher surveys during the early implementation stage of the Family Engagement Partnership (FEP), 2012–2013. This report summarizes results from a phase II follow-up evaluation focusing on the association between home visits and student achievement. Using data from the 2013–2014 school year–the third year of the initiative’s implementation–the John Hopkins University team examined the FEP’s effectiveness at 12 elementary schools in the District of Columbia. Approximately 4,700 students attended these schools, among whom 23% were classified as English Language Learners, 18% were receiving Special Education Services, 95% were eligible for free and reduced price lunches, and 96% were persons of color. Using data from these students and their teachers, the study addressed the following questions:

  1. Were students whose families received a home visit more likely to have grade-level or better reading comprehension and fluency skills by the end of the school year?
  2. Were students whose families received a home visit absent less frequently?
  3. Were students whose families received a home visit more likely to re-enroll in their school the following year?
  4. What aspects of program implementation (e.g. school support, length of time in the partnership, etc.) were associated with better outcomes for students?
  5. Did teachers at schools where the FEP is being implemented receive higher scores on teacher effectiveness measures than teachers at schools with comparable student demographics without the FEP?

Findings from this evaluation suggest that interventions to build teachers’ capacity to engage families can lead to better outcomes for students and teachers. The trusting relationships between teachers and families established at the beginning of the school year, through home visiting, are associated with academic success. In addition, greater school support and longer participation in the FEP are linked to larger student achievement gains. Preliminary analyses also suggest that teacher effectiveness is associated with teacher participation in the FEP.”

Sheldon, S. B., & Jung, S. B. (2018). Student outcomes and parent teacher home visits. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, School of Education. Retrieved from

From the executive summary:

“Key Findings and Take-Aways:

  • The findings support the implementation of Parent Teacher Home Visits (PTHV) as an evidenced-based family engagement approach to improve student outcomes.
  • On average, schools that systematically implemented PTHV experienced decreased rates of student chronic absenteeism and increased rates of student English Language Arts (ELA) and math proficiency.
  • Students whose families participated in a home visit were less likely to be chronically absent than students whose families did not participate.
  • For students, attending a school that was implementing home visits with at least 10% of students’ families was associated with a decreased likelihood of being chronically absent.
  • For students, attending a school that was implementing home visits with at least 10% of students’ families was associated with an increased likelihood of scoring at or above proficiency on standardized ELA assessments.”

Venkateswaran, N., Laird, J., Robles, J., & Jeffries, J. (2018). Parent teacher home visits implementation study. Berkeley, CA: RTI International. Retrieved from

From the executive summary:

“This report summarizes findings from a study conducted by RTI International examining implementation of the PTHV model. The research questions driving this implementation study are as follows:

  1. How do stakeholders uphold the five core practices of PTHV?
  2. Should schools continue to follow the five core practices as “non-negotiable”?
  3. To what extent do stakeholders consider the two-visit-per-year component of the model critical to improved relationships between educators, students, and families?
  4. What are effective strategies that schools and districts could use to successfully implement the five core practices?
  5. What are effective practices to support and monitor implementation of visits?
  6. What barriers should organizations seeking to replicate the model be mindful of?

The study relies on two main sources of data: (a) qualitative data collected from three or four schools in each of four large districts implementing PTHV and (b) video observations of a PTHV training from each district. All districts serve student populations that are majority people of color and from low-income families. RTI conducted interviews with a total of 187 people (105 teachers and staff members, 59 adult family members, 13 school administrators, 8 central office administrators, and 2 PTHV founders). . . .

Finding: Most educators, administrators, and family members agreed that the five core practices ensured that home visits resulted in positive relationships between educators and families. . . .
Core Practice 1: Visits are always voluntary for educators and families and arranged in advance. . . .
Core Practice 2: Teachers are trained and compensated for visits outside their school day. . . .
Core Practice 3: The focus of the first visit is relationship-building; educators and families discuss hopes and dreams. The recommended second home visit focuses on academics. . . .
Core Practice 4: No targeting – visit all or a cross-section of students so there is no stigma. . . .
Core Practice 5: Educators conduct visits in pairs and, after the visit, reflect with their partners.”


Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • “Home visitation” AND “early childhood”
  • “Home visitation” AND students
  • Visitation AND “early childhood”
  • Visitation AND students

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and Google.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the Publication: References and resources published between 2009 and 2019 were included in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority was given to ERIC, followed by Google Scholar and Google.
  • Methodology: The following methodological priorities/considerations were used in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types–randomized control trials, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive analyses, literature reviews; and (b) target population and sample.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Central Region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Central at Marzano Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Central under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0005, administered by Marzano Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.