Effects of youth mentoring programmes

Mentoring programmes that pair young people with non-parental adults are a popular strategy for early intervention with at-risk youth. To examine the extent to which these types of interventions improve outcomes for young people, Elizabeth B Raposa and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of outcome studies of one-to-one youth mentoring programmes written in English between 1975 and 2017.

Their analysis included 70 studies with a sample size of 25,286 children and young people (average age = 12 years), and considered five broad outcome categories: school, social, health, cognitive and psychological outcomes.

The findings from their meta-analysis suggest no significant difference in effect sizes across these five types of outcomes. Overall, they found an average effect size of +0.21 across all studies and outcomes, which is consistent with past meta-analyses that have shown overall effect sizes ranging from +0.18 to +0.21.

Programmes that had a larger proportion of young males who were being mentored in the sample, a greater percentage of male mentors, or mentors who worked within the helping profession showed larger effect sizes, as did evaluations that relied on questionnaires and youth self-report.

Source: The effects of youth mentoring programs: A meta-analysis of outcome studies (January 2019), Journal of Youth and Adolescence

Impact of support for new teachers on pupil achievement

An SRI Education evaluation of the New Teacher Center’s (NTC’s) induction model shows some positive results on pupil achievement in mathematics and English language arts (reading, writing, and linguistic/communication skills).

The NTC induction model provides new teachers with two years of coaching from a trained mentor. New teachers meet with their assigned mentor for a minimum of 180 minutes each month and work through a programme of NTC-developed support. The evaluation, conducted by Rebecca Schmidt and colleagues, reports on findings from a three-year randomised controlled trial of NTC’s induction model in two US school districts (one in Florida and the other in Illinois). New teachers in participating schools were randomly assigned to receive either the NTC induction model (the treatment condition) or business-as-usual new teacher support (the control condition).

Pupils in grades 4–8 (Years 5–9) who were taught by teachers who had participated in NTC induction for two years did better in English language arts (effect size = +0.09) and maths (effect size = +0.15) compared to pupils of control teachers.

Source: Impact of the New Teacher Center’s new teacher induction model on teachers and students (June 2017), SRI Education, SRI International

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.