Program

Sep 17, 2009

OVERVIEW

Twelve Together is a peer support and
mentoring program offering weekly after-school discussion groups led by trained
adult volunteers. Homework assistance, college visits, and an annual weekend
retreat are also key components of the program. Designed for middle- and
high-school students, the program targets students with poor academic
performance or disciplinary problems, placing them at-risk for dropping out of
school. An evaluation of the program found it to lack significant impacts on
school attendance, school dropout, self-esteem, and math and English
achievement.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
Middle- and high-school students with poor
school attendance, low academic grades, and/or disciplinary problems.

Twelve Together is
a peer support and mentoring program consisting of weekly after-school
discussion groups led by trained adult volunteers. Designed for middle- and
high-school students, the program targets students with poor academic
performance, attendance, and/or disciplinary problems. Groups are led by two
trained volunteer adult facilitators who moderate discussions. Topics range from
personal and family issues to social issues. In addition to engaging in
discussion groups, participants pledge to attend class, study regularly, and to
work to improve academic grades. Facilitators, usually college students, also
provide homework assistance. The program is inaugurated with a weekend camping
trip to promote group cohesion and develop teamwork-building skills. The program
also provides visits to local college campuses and social events. Estimated
costs per student each month are $220.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Dynarski M,
Gleason P, Rangarajan A, Wood R. (1998). Impacts of Dropout Prevention Programs,
Final Report. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Evaluated population:
The study sample comprised 494 students in 7th
grade with high school absenteeism, low academic grades, and/or disciplinary
problems. Students resided in the Sweetwater Union High School District, located
in Chula Vista, CA. Among the treatment group, 55% were girls, 53% were Latino,
and 20% had a mother with less than a high school education.

Approach:
Students were randomly assigned to the Twelve Together program (n=259) or to a
control group (n=235). Students assigned the control group were permitted to
participate in other educational programs. Students were assessed at baseline as
well as approximately 18 months and 30 months later. (The first cohort was
followed for three years while the second cohort was followed for two years.)
Outcomes assessed, through self-reports and school records, included: school
attendance, academic grades, school atmosphere, self-esteem, educational
aspirations, disciplinary problems, parental involvement in school activities,
reading and TV watching, employment history, substance use, and pregnancy.
Students also completed survey questions about student and parent
characteristics, including age, race, parent’s educational attainment and
employment status, and receipt of public assistance.

Results: There were no impacts on school attendance, math grades, or reading or
mathematic test grades; there was a marginal negative impact on English grades,
with the treatment group having lower English grades. There also was no impact
on the dropout rate, but a marginally significant negative impact of grade
advancement. Additionally, there were no impacts on self-esteem and certainty of
completing high school.

There also were no impacts on disciplinary
problems, educational aspirations, parental involvement in school, reading, TV
watching, recent use of marijuana or other illicit drug use, or pregnancy. There
were marginal impacts among the Year 3 cohort; the treatment group was less
likely to be employed and was less likely to have used alcohol. Thus, overall
this program was found to have no significant impacts.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Dynarski M, Gleason
P, Rangarajan A, Wood R. (1998). Impacts of Dropout Prevention Programs, Final
Report. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

For more
information, please visit the What Works Clearinghouse:

http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/WWC_Twelve_Together_031207.pdf
.

SUMMARY &
CATEGORIZATION

Program
categorized in this guide according to the following:

Evaluated
participant age:
7th grade

Program
component:
School-based

Measured
outcomes:
education and cognitive development; teen pregnancy

KEYWORDS:
Adolescents (12-17), Middle School, School-based, Mentoring, After School
Program, Teen Pregnancy, Self-Esteem, Academic Achievement, High School
Completion, Cost

Program
information last updated 9/17/09

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