Program

Aug 09, 2011

OVERVIEW

This school-based mentor program for at-risk
ninth-grade students was designed to improve academic achievement and school
attendance. Students are assigned a mentor who works in their school and meet
with the mentor on a weekly basis. An experimental evaluation of the program
found that it did not produce any significant impacts on academic achievement or
school attendance.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
at-risk ninth grade students

Mentors, who are
either school teachers or school staff, are assigned four at-risk ninth- grade
students as mentees. Mentors meet individually with their mentees for ten
minutes a week and hold a combined session with all four mentees for 30 minutes
a month. Mentors prepare monthly progress reports on their mentees and can hold
up to one additional mentoring session per week if the mentor thinks it is
necessary, or the mentee requests it.

During mentoring
sessions, mentors encourage mentees to develop a positive attitude, identify
personal values and goals, be open to new ideas, use creative problem-solving
strategies, be an attentive listener, ask assertive questions, be an independent
thinker, recognize his or her individual strengths, develop self-confidence,
take risks, be aware of their environment, and have flexible attitudes. Mentors
work with mentees on a number of different school problems; contact parents
through letters, phone calls and conferences; and provide mentees with written
praise. If a student misses more than three days of school in a nine-week
period, his or her attendance is monitored daily for ten days by the program
coordinator (a school administrator). Parents are involved in the program
through an introduction session, a pamphlet, conferences, and a handbook.

The program
coordinator is responsible for collecting data, evaluating the effectiveness of
the program, scheduling and attending staffing and conferences, training and
observing mentors, and hosting the introductory parent session.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Davis, H.
(1988). A mentor program to assist in increasing academic achievement and
attendance of at-risk ninth grade students.
Unpublished Dissertation,
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Evaluated population:
Forty ninth-grade students who failed ninth
grade, or who were promoted to ninth grade following failing two years in
elementary and/or middle school, were evaluated. The students were all 14 to 17
years of age, enrolled in school full-time, and had been absent for 15 or more
days in the previous school year.

Approach:
The students were randomly assigned to an experimental group (n=20) or a control
group (n=20). Students in the experimental group were assigned a mentor and
participated in the program as described above. Students in the control group
did not receive any intervention. Data were collected on all 40 students every
nine weeks throughout the school year. Information was collected on school
attendance, number of courses taken, number of courses dropped or added, number
of courses passed, grade-point average, number of courses failed, and whether
the student was enrolled in school or dropped out. These data were compared with
baseline data collected from the previous school year to calculate changes in
GPA and school attendance.

Results:
There were no significant differences between groups in changes in GPA or school
attendance.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Davis, H.
(1988). A mentor program to assist in increasing academic achievement and
attendance of at-risk ninth grade students.
Unpublished Dissertation,
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

KEYWORDS:
Adolescents, high school, high-risk, urban, school-based, mentoring, academic
achievement/grades, attendance

Program
information last updated 8/9/11

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