Nov 05, 2010


The Cross-Age
Mentoring Program is designed to keep children connected with school and family
by assigning them an older youth as a mentor. Mentors and mentees meet after
school twice a week for about six months. In this evaluation children were
randomly assigned to the mentee/treatment group or the control group. Mentor
attendance was found to be significantly related to mentees’ rule compliance,
social skills, overall social skills and school competence, overall self-esteem,
self-esteem appearance, and
connectedness; mentee attendance in the program was not significantly related to
any variables. Participation in the program had no significant effect on
mentees’ school-connectedness.


Children in 4th through 8th grade

Mentees and mentors
meet twice a week after school for two hours at the middle school (4th-8th
grades. Mentors and mentees rank their choices of pairings following a
six-hour orientation, and 90% of mentees receive their first or second choice.

Mentors meet with
supervisors once a month to review the mentor’s role, appropriate boundaries for
the relationship, commitment to the program, and the connectedness curricula.
Parents of mentees receive ideas for activities to do with their children, and
attend bi-monthly events on Saturdays. Program coordinators schedule meetings
between mentors and mentees. The program includes six months of mentoring, which
amounts to 48 meetings, plus six Saturday meetings, totaling 144 hours.

The Saturday
meetings are used for trips to the zoo, picnic at a park, a carnival at the
school, and other, similar activities.

In the other
sessions, the mentors and mentees participate in activities to foster mentees’
connectedness to others, to self, to school, and to reading. If a mentor or
mentee is absent, his or her partner can still be involved with others in the
program in some way. The children in this study interviewed teachers, and they
role-played “moral dilemma” stories with their mentors after school. The mentees
planned a teacher interview, practiced with their mentors, interviewed a
teacher, and made a poster and wrote a story about the teacher, which they
presented to the others in the program. The mentors and mentees also read eight
short books and role-played alternative endings.


Karcher, M. J. (2005). The Effects of Developmental Mentoring and High School
Mentors’ Attendance on their Younger Mentees’ Self-Esteem, Social Skills, and
Connectedness. Psychology in the Schools, 42(1), 65-77.

A total of 77 4th through 8th graders categorized as
either high risk or low risk (see below). 17 of the original 33 mentees were
high-risk, but five high-risk children left the program. Of the original 33, 21
were male and 12 were female. The five who left were boys.

Forty children were
originally assigned to the control group, but 10 were either absent at one of
the two assessments or withdrew from the project. In the end, 58 children had
complete data and were included in the sample. The treatment group had 17
high-risk and 16 low-risk children.

Most mentors were
high school students , but 6 were in 8th grade. The number of 9th, 10th,
11th, and 12th graders were 7, 8, 9, and 6, respectively.
Nearly all the mentors were white. Two mentors were from a minority
racial/ethnic group: one was biracial and the other Hispanic.

The authors attempted to find equal numbers of high-risk and low-risk children
to be randomly assigned. In all, 77 children were randomly assigned to either
the mentoring group or the control group. The control group completed a tutoring
program that began after the mentoring program ended.

To identify
high-risk children, the authors administered questionnaires to the child’s
teacher. The questionnaire measured three domains: family risk, academic risk,
and behavior risk. The authors also measured self-esteem, social skills and
school competence, attendance of the program, and involvement with parents,
friends, school, and reading.

Mentor attendance had a significantly greater impact on mentee outcomes than did
mentee attendance. Mentor attendance was significantly related to positive
changes in the following outcomes: rule compliance, social skills, and the
entire social and school competence measure. Mentor attendance was positively
related to mentees’ feelings about their appearance and global self-worth, but
not with mentees’ self-esteem. Mentor attendance was also significantly related
to positive change in mentees’ total connectedness related, but not with changes
in parent connectedness or school connectedness separately.

Mentor attendance,
controlling for mentee attendance, was also significantly related to mentees’
social skills, the composite of mentees’ social skills and school competence,
mentees’ self-esteem, and the attractiveness component of self-esteem.

A test of variables
that might influence post-treatment connectedness to school showed that only
membership in the control group, and pretest connectedness to school, were
significant predictors, after controlling for academic risk status, mentee
attendance, mentor attendance, rule compliance, social skills, and
attractiveness (part of the self-esteem measure).




Karcher, M. J. (2005). The Effects of Developmental Mentoring and High School
Mentors’ Attendance on their Younger Mentees’ Self-Esteem, Social Skills, and
Connectedness. Psychology in the Schools, 42(1), 65-77.

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Adolescence
(12-17), Co-ed, High-Risk, School-based, Life Skills
Training, School Engagement, Mentoring, Middle School, Self-Esteem

Program information last updated 11/5/10