Program Delivery Findings
Both grantees and mentors were surveyed to describe various characteristics of program
delivery, including training and support for mentors, characteristics of mentors,
matching of students with mentors, and mentor/student relationship duration and
activities. On average, grantees in the study implemented the program following
the guidance provided by the legislation and program office. Also, program delivery
was, by and large, consistent with findings from previous studies of schoolbased
Key findings on program delivery include the following:
- Approximately one in ten mentors reported not having undergone a reference
or background check despite being required by the program as a condition of the
grant. Eleven percent of mentors reported not having had either a background
or reference check conducted pre-match, despite the fact that all 32 grantees indicated
requiring some form of background screening before matching mentors with students.
Because only mentors and not grantees were asked this question, it is possible that
some mentors were simply unaware (or had forgotten) that a background or reference
check was conducted by the grantee.
- The majority of mentors received pre-match training or orientation and had
access to ongoing supports from the program. Ninety-six percent of mentors
reported receiving an average of 3.4 hours of some form of pre-match training or
orientation. Forty-one percent of mentors reported that ongoing training was available
after they had begun meeting regularly with their students. Ninety-four percent
reported having access to some kind of ongoing supports, consistent with legislative
and program guidelines.
- The majority of students were matched with mentors of the same race and
gender. Fifty-five percent of matches in our study were between individuals
who had the same racial status. Eighty-one percent of matches in our study were
between students and mentors of the same gender.
- The majority of mentors met with their students on a one-to-one basis.
Mentors, on average, also reported meeting with their students, on a weekly basis
for approximately one hour per meeting. This finding is consistent with findings
from other studies (Herrera et al. 2007; and Karcher, 2008).
- Seventeen percent of the students randomly assigned to the treatment group
never received mentoring from the program. This includes 14 percent of
students in the treatment group who were never matched with mentors and another
3 percent who were matched with mentors, but never actually met. However, the percentage
of unmatched students in this study is within the range of past experience engaging
mentors in randomized impact studies of mentoring.6
- On average, the programs took a total of 81 days to match students and mentors,
from the start of the school year. On average, there was a lag of 37 days
between the date of random assignment and the time when the student was matched.
This lag between the beginning of the school year and matching students is consistent
with findings from previous research (Herrera et al, 2000, Hansen, 2005, and Karcher,
- For students who were matched and met with their mentors, the average length
of the relationship was 5.8 months. This finding, however, is consistent
with previous research. For example, Herrera et al. (2007) in the impact study of
the BBBS schoolbased mentoring program reported an average match length of 5.3 months.
- Discussing relationships and future plans, and to a lesser extent, working on academics
were the most frequent activities reported by mentors. Mentors and students worked
together on a range of activities. Approximately half of the mentors reported frequently
discussing relationships and future plans (52 percent and 48 percent, respectively).
In contrast, 43 percent reported working frequently on academics, while 21 percent
reported never working on academics. The greater focus on the social needs of the
students compared to academic needs has been found in some, but not all, of the
- Approximately 20 percent of the mentors were of high-school age (18 years or younger)
and an additional 23 percent were of college-age. However, this is still a smaller
percentage than findings from previous research where the majority of mentors were
of high school or college age.8