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Mentoring programs for high school graduation

Health Factors: Education
Decision Makers: Educators Grantmakers
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Mentoring programs pair adult mentors with at-risk students to provide guidance through academic and personal challenges (Campbell-Wilson 2011). Trained mentors meet regularly with students, establishing a personal relationship and helping the student overcome obstacles in and out of school. Mentors also model positive behavior and decision-making skills (IES WWC-Dynarski 2008).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased high school graduation
Improved academic outcomes

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that mentoring programs for at-risk students improve high school graduation rates (Campbell-Wilson 2011, CG-TFR Education). Mentoring programs can also help youth with disabilities graduate and transition to post-secondary education or employment (Lindsay 2016).

On average, mentoring programs increase graduation rates among students at risk of dropping out by 9% (CG-TFR Education). Mentoring programs with longer durations (e.g., lasting more than one year) have stronger effects than shorter programs (Lindsay 2016, Child Trends-Lawner 2013). Students who have close relationships with their mentors appear to have stronger academic outcomes than mentored students without close mentor relationships (MDRC-Bayer 2013). Low program attendance or completion rates, staffing, mentor recruitment, and other administrative challenges can reduce the effectiveness of mentoring programs (Campbell-Wilson 2011).

Researchers suggest that programs choose willing adult mentors committed to their task, purposefully match students to mentors, provide training and support for adult mentors, and establish mentor/student meetings at least weekly (IES WWC-Dynarski 2008). Mentoring programs with weekly meetings and opportunities for mentor-mentee interaction outside of large-group settings are more likely to foster close mentor-mentee relationships (MDRC-Bayer 2013).

The cost of mentoring programs ranges from $600 to $4500 per student (CG-TFR Education). Check & Connect, a mentoring program that has been shown to prevent dropout in urban areas with high poverty rates, costs about $1800 per student per year (SPTW). Mentoring programs have an estimated benefit to cost ratio of 2 to 1 (CG-TFR Education).

Implementation

United States

As of 2013, Colorado, Iowa, and Michigan have legislation that supports youth mentoring programs (CGA OLR-Dwyer 2013).

Many mentoring programs are implemented in several locations across the country. For example, Check & Connect has been implemented in over 27 states and internationally (Check and Connect). Mentoring USA programs are established in New York City, NY; Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Newark, NJ; Silver Spring, MD; and Costa Mesa, CA (Mentoring USA-Locations).

Mentoring programs are a central focus for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that supports non-profit and faith-based groups in more than 60,000 locations across the country. CNCS also partners with several organizations to support the National Mentoring Month campaign (CNCS-Mentoring month). 

Implementation Resources

Check and Connect - University of Minnesota. Check & connect: A comprehensive student engagement intervention. Accessed on February 16, 2017
MENTOR - MENTOR. Expanding the world of quality mentoring. Accessed on October 7, 2016
NMRC-Mentoring - National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC). Supporting youth mentoring practitioners across the country. Accessed on July 7, 2016
UWS-Mentoring program search - United We Serve (UWS). Find a mentoring opportunity through the Mentoring Connector: A national database of youth mentoring programs. Accessed on July 7, 2016
YG-Mentoring resources - Youth.gov (YG), Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP). Youth topic: Mentoring. Accessed on July 7, 2016

Citations - Description

Campbell-Wilson 2011 - Wilson SJ, Tanner-Smith EE, Lipsey MW, Steinka-Fry KT, Morrison J. Dropout prevention and intervention programs: Effects on school completion and dropout among school-aged children and youth: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2011:8. Accessed on April 13, 2017
IES WWC-Dynarski 2008 - Dynarski M, Clarke L, Cobb B, et al. Dropout prevention: A practice guide. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), US Department of Education (US ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), What Works Clearinghouse (WWC); 2008. Accessed on July 7, 2016

Citations - Evidence

Campbell-Wilson 2011 - Wilson SJ, Tanner-Smith EE, Lipsey MW, Steinka-Fry KT, Morrison J. Dropout prevention and intervention programs: Effects on school completion and dropout among school-aged children and youth: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2011:8. Accessed on April 13, 2017
CG-TFR Education - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Task Force Recommends (TFR) Education Programs to Promote Health Equity. Accessed on December 19, 2016
Child Trends-Lawner 2013 - Lawner EK, Beltz M, Moore KA. What works for mentoring programs: Lessons from experimental evaluations of programs and interventions. Bethesda, MD: Child Trends; 2013. Accessed on June 8, 2016
IES WWC-Dynarski 2008 - Dynarski M, Clarke L, Cobb B, et al. Dropout prevention: A practice guide. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), US Department of Education (US ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), What Works Clearinghouse (WWC); 2008. Accessed on July 7, 2016
Lindsay 2016* - Lindsay S, Hartman LR, Fellin M. A systematic review of mentorship programs to facilitate transition to post-secondary education and employment for youth and young adults with disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2016;38(14):1329–1349. Accessed on July 7, 2016
MDRC-Bayer 2013 - Bayer A, Grossman JB, DuBois DL. School-based mentoring programs: Using volunteers to improve the academic outcomes of underserved students. Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC). 2013. Accessed on July 7, 2016
SPTW - Social Programs That Work (SPTW). Full list of programs. Accessed on April 19, 2017

Citations - Implementation

CGA OLR-Dwyer 2013 - Dwyer K. Youth mentoring programs in other states. Connecticut General Assembly (CGA), Office of Legislative Research (OLR), OLR Research Report 2013-R-0459. 2013. Accessed on July 7, 2016
Check and Connect - University of Minnesota. Check & connect: A comprehensive student engagement intervention. Accessed on February 16, 2017
CNCS-Mentoring month - Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS). National mentoring month. Accessed on July 7, 2016
Mentoring USA-Locations - Mentoring USA. Where are we? Accessed on July 7, 2016

Page Last Updated

July 13, 2016

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