An independent evaluation of the Making the Difference leaflets was carried out by the research group George Street Research over a two-year period. It found the information booklets, which covered everything from homework and parents' evenings to the Parental Involvement Act, had little impact on actual parental involvement, although they raised awareness of some of the issues.
School staff considered the most effective leaflets were on homework, healthy choices and Getting involved in your child's school. Local authority staff considered the most effective was A New law to support parents.
The researchers noted, however: "This is the most recent leaflet and may have higher perceived importance to local authority staff because of this and as a result of its subject matter local authority staff may have a particular focus on ensuring the implementation of changes arising out of the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act to which it relates."
No one leaflet was preferred by the parents who took part in the research.
The most popular recommendation by schools and local authorities for a topic to be featured in future publications was A Curriculum for Excellence. Other topics suggested by parents, schools or authorities included bullying; how to identify signs of autism, Asperger's and dys-lexia; etiquette and discipline; subject choices at secondary; and different or new learning and teaching approaches.