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Behavioral SMS for Students

The Income Gap and Behavioral SMS

20.2 million college students entered into college this fall. However, there is only about a 9% chance that students from poor families will leave college with a degree, a drastic difference from the 54% of children from high income families. Wealth inequality is a large issue for education because children from low income homes tend to be less prepared for school than high income students. However, researchers are looking to implement SMS alerts for providing periodic “nudges” to encourage students (and their parents) to stay on a successful academic path.


SMS for Literacy

In one study, researchers tested a SMS reminder method to help improve kindergarten readiness with low income students. Literacy is one of the biggest aspects of kindergarten readiness so, a literacy program was established for preschool children. Parents would receive text messages with activities to do with their children for developing their literacy skills. Parents who received these texts had children who were more likely to know the alphabet and the sound of the letters.

Homework Alerts

For children in middle and high schools, research is being done to implement SMS alerts to improve homework turn-in rates. Personalized text messages were sent to parents of middle school and high school students alerting them if their child’s homework was not turned in. Not only did the text messages notify the parents of the missing homework, it also listed the page numbers and specific problems that students were expected to complete. As a result, homework turn-in rates and test scores rose, and the communication between parents and students increased as well.SMS Operations, SMS College. SMS Education, SMS Success

SMS Alerts Improve College Enrollment

The summer following high school graduation is a tricky time for students. Nearly 20% of students who were college bound don’t make it to college. For college aged students, a program was put in place to send personalized SMS reminders about important deadlines through an automated process. Students receiving the texts were 70% more likely to enroll in college compared to the 60% likely for college students who did not.


Overall, SMS proves that it can be a very effective tool in promoting educational success for students at all levels. In the gaps between student and parent, student and educational institution, or among the three, there are a plethora of things that can knock a student off course. By closing that gap, academic success can flourish. All it takes is thoughtful behavioral SMS implementation.


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