School-Based Mentoring: Weighing Future Investments
Mentoring: ensuring it’s effective
A new analysis from the Society for Research in Child Development of three recent large-scale evaluation studies of school-based mentoring programs suggests that the most successful programs use a clearly defined program model with well-articulated standards for practice; provide ongoing monitoring and support so that program models are implemented with fidelity; and ensure that all eligible students are matched with appropriate mentors. These programs enlist adult mentors rather than older student mentors, a group whose effectiveness has not been clearly established. They also are structured so that mentors and mentees meet consistently and are supported in developing mentoring relationships that can be maintained. The authors stress that analysis does not show evidence of effects on academic achievement. However, successful mentoring programs do seem to yield important influences on student learning and resilience in at-risk youth. Outcomes from school-based mentoring in decreased truancy and school misconduct may contribute to improved academic achievement over time, but this has yet to be examined. Evaluations of interventions in schools focusing directly on academic skills or social and emotional learning have reported stronger effects than current school-based mentoring programs, which do not necessarily reflect these areas of emphasis.
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