Impact of teacher mentors

A study published by the Institute of Education Sciences in the US evaluates the impact of the Retired Mentors for New Teachers programme – a two-year programme in which recently retired teachers provide tailored mentoring to new teachers – on pupil achievement, teacher retention and teacher evaluation ratings. The new teachers meet with their mentors weekly on a one-to-one basis and monthly in school-level groups over the course of the two years.

Dale DeDesare and colleagues conducted a randomised controlled trial involving 77 teachers at 11 primary schools in Aurora, Colorado. Within each school, half of the new teachers were randomly assigned to a control group to receive the district’s business-as-usual mentoring support, while the other half received the intervention as well as business-as-usual mentoring support.

The study found that at the end of the first year, pupils who were taught by teachers in the programme group scored 1.4 points higher on the spring Measures of Academic Progress maths assessment than those taught by teachers in the control group, (effect size = +0.064), and this difference was statistically significant. Reading achievement was also higher among pupils taught by teachers in the programme group, however, the difference was not statistically significant (effect size = +0.014 at the end of the first year and +0.07 at the end of the second year). The effect of the programme on teacher evaluation ratings and teacher retention was not significant, although more teachers in the programme group left after two years than in the control group.

Source: Impacts of the retired mentors for new teachers program (REL 2017–225) (March 2017), US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Central.

Mentoring works for young people at risk

A systematic review has been published by the Campbell Collaboration examining the effects of mentoring interventions on juvenile delinquency and related problems, such as school failure. The authors considered all evidence published in English between 1970 and 2011, with the final review including 164 studies that met the inclusion criteria.

The review found modest effect sizes across four outcomes: academic achievement (+0.11), drug use (+0.16), delinquency (+0.21), and aggression (+0.29). There was substantial heterogeneity in effect size across programmes for each outcome. The authors found stronger effects when emotional support and advocacy were emphasised and when professional development was the motivation of the mentors for involvement.

Although the results suggest that mentoring can be effective for high-risk teenagers, the authors highlight the fact that the studies lacked information about what exactly the mentoring programmes comprised and their implementation features. The authors say there is a critical need for concerted efforts for substantial and probably large-scale evaluations.

Source: Mentoring Interventions to Affect Juvenile Delinquency and Associated Problems: A Systematic Review (2013), The Campbell Library.

What works for mentoring programmes?

A new research brief from Child Trends, What Works for Mentoring Programs: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions, examined 19 mentoring programmes to determine how well they meet their intended outcomes and what we can learn from them.

It found that mentoring programmes that target at-risk youth or are community-based (as opposed to school-based) are more frequently effective, as are those lasting a year or more. While mentoring is a good strategy for helping children with education, social skills, and relationships, programmes aimed at behaviour problems, such as reducing teen pregnancy or bullying, were not found to be effective.

Source: What Works for Mentoring Programs: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions (2013), Child Trends.