Research in Action #7


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Issue 7: Cross-Age Peer Mentoring

This series was developed by MENTOR and translates the latest mentoring research into tangible strategies for mentoring practitioners. Research In Action (RIA) makes the best available research accessible and relevant to the mentoring field.

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Research in Action #7

  1. 1. Research in Action Series Cross Age Peer Mentoring
  2. 2. Overview of Research in Action Series <ul><li>MENTOR has developed an innovative series - Research in Action </li></ul><ul><li>Translates the latest research on mentoring into tangible strategies for mentoring practitioners. </li></ul><ul><li>Makes the best available research accessible and relevant to the mentoring field.   </li></ul><ul><li>Using the Research in Action series, programs can ensure their practices are based on current research, resulting in improved services and better impacts for young people. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>10 issues </li></ul><ul><li>Each issue provides:   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resources </li></ul></ul>Overview of Research in Action Series
  4. 4. Research in Action Issues: <ul><li>Mentoring: A Key Resource for Promoting Positive Youth Development </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness of Mentoring Program Practices </li></ul><ul><li>Program Staff in Youth Mentoring Programs: Qualifications, Training, and Retention </li></ul><ul><li>Fostering Close and Effective Relationships in Youth Mentoring Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Why Youth Mentoring Relationships End </li></ul><ul><li>School-Based Mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-Age Peer Mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring Across Generations: Engaging 50+ Adults as Mentors </li></ul><ul><li>Youth Mentoring: Do Race and Ethnicity Really Matter? </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring: A Promising Intervention for Children of Prisoners </li></ul>
  5. 5. Mentor Michigan Webinar Series <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Click on “Training & Technical Assistance” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Issue 7: Cross Age Peer Mentoring <ul><li>Michael Karcher, Ed.D., Ph.D., University of Texas at San Antonio </li></ul><ul><li>Download this issue by visiting </li></ul>
  7. 7. Issue 7 - Overview <ul><li>Introduction to Cross-Age Peer Mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>Defining Cross-Age Peer Mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-Age Peer Mentoring Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics of Effective CAMPs </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
  8. 8. Introduction <ul><li>What is the model of your cross-age peer mentoring program? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How old are mentors/mentees? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where do they meet? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How often and for how long are they matched? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One-to-one or group? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Cross-Age Peer Mentoring <ul><li>The mentor is usually an older youth, typically high school-aged </li></ul><ul><li>Paired with middle school or elementary-aged child </li></ul><ul><li>Almost always take place at schools </li></ul><ul><li>Most meet weekly, for an hour or two, for duration of school year </li></ul><ul><li>Primarily one-to-one relationships, but often meetings occur in larger group, with some group-based activities </li></ul>
  10. 10. CAMPs are here to stay <ul><li>BBBS High School Bigs comprise nearly ¼ of all matches annually </li></ul><ul><li>CAMPs have elements that are appealing to mentees, mentors, school staff and parents </li></ul><ul><li>Practice has outpaced research leading to under-structured CAMPs </li></ul>
  11. 11. Defining Cross-Age Peer Mentoring <ul><li>Distinctions </li></ul><ul><li>Structure - tutoring or mentoring? </li></ul><ul><li>Duration </li></ul><ul><li>Focus/Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-age </li></ul>
  12. 12. Table 1: Drawing Distinctions Among Several Peer-to-Peer Interventions Structured (e.g. using a curriculum) Long-term (lasting more than ten weeks) Problem-focused or remedial Cross-age (difference in grade of two or more) One-to-one relationship format Peer Mentoring Sometimes Yes No Yes Yes Peer Counseling No No Yes (personal) Not usually Usually, but not necessarily Peer helping; PALs (Peer Assistance and Leadership) Yes Not usually Sometimes Yes, usually Both one-to-one and one helper with multiple youth formats Peer Mediation Yes No Yes Not usually No, one mediator with two plus peers Peer Tutoring No No Yes (academic) Sometimes Usually, but not necessarily
  13. 13. Benefits for Mentees and Mentors <ul><li>MENTEES </li></ul><ul><li>Attitudes toward connectedness to school and peers </li></ul><ul><li>Self-efficacy </li></ul><ul><li>Grades or academic achievement </li></ul><ul><li>Social skills </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior problems </li></ul><ul><li>Gains in conventional attitudes toward illicit and antisocial behavior </li></ul><ul><li>MENTORS </li></ul><ul><li>Moral reasoning and empathy </li></ul><ul><li>Connection to school </li></ul><ul><li>Relate better to parents </li></ul><ul><li>Self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict resolution skills </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational skills </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to communicate with children </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility </li></ul>
  14. 14. Who is more effective? Adult mentors or youth mentors? <ul><li>In one comparison of six randomized studies of school-based mentoring (Karcher, 2006), the size of the effects on connectedness to school for the three cross-age peer mentoring programs were “large” while the effects for the three adult-with-youth school-based mentoring programs were “small” (consistent with DuBois et al., 2002). </li></ul><ul><li>However, across the majority of other outcomes, cross-age mentors did not appear to be more effective than adult mentors </li></ul>
  15. 15. Risks of Cross-Age Mentoring <ul><li>Left unstructured, CAMPs run higher risk of causing harm </li></ul><ul><li>Supervise/monitor matches to prevent: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentors modeling deviant behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unplanned or unexplained absences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frustration among overwhelmed mentors </li></ul></ul>Matches in which mentors are inconsistent should be quickly “terminated” using a formal process to minimize the negative effects on mentee
  16. 16. Developmental Approach <ul><li>Descriptive evaluations of BBBS HS Bigs Program found that most matches engage in physical activities, general talking, and crafts or board games. </li></ul><ul><li>In fact, while playing one-on-one games was related to better outcomes, the more the match worked on academics (e.g., tutoring), the less likely they were to be rematched for a second year. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Characteristics of Effective Cross-Age Peer Mentoring Programs <ul><li>Mentors trained in a developmental approach </li></ul><ul><li>Mentors who report greater social interest and less self-interested motivations are strategically recruited </li></ul><ul><li>Mentors and mentees differ in age by at least two years, mentors in high school (sophomores and juniors) </li></ul><ul><li>Programs provide structure but focus clearly on strengthening relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Matches monitored for signs of “deviancy training” </li></ul><ul><li>Mentees are taught how best to utilize their mentors for support </li></ul><ul><li>Mentors are required to participate in formal termination processes </li></ul>
  18. 18. Conclusion <ul><li>The potential of CAMPs to effect both the mentors’ and mentees’ development and school connectedness through the same intervention holds great promise and warrants continued study and refinement. </li></ul><ul><li>Given the rising number of cross-age mentoring programs, it will be worthwhile for researchers and program staff to collaborate in order to study when cross-age peer mentoring works best, for whom, and to what ends, and then use these insights to guide program planning. </li></ul><ul><li>Although there is promise, there remains a great deal to be learned about the most efficient and effective ways to utilize older peers in mentoring relationships. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Other Key Considerations: <ul><li>Age Gap </li></ul><ul><li>Parent Involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration and/or Partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-age peer mentoring is not “mentoring-lite” </li></ul><ul><li>Potential to do harm </li></ul>
  20. 20. Action <ul><li>Part I: Designing a Cross-Age Peer Mentoring Program </li></ul><ul><li>Part II: Implications of Cross-Age Peer Mentoring on Program Practices </li></ul><ul><li>Download this issue by visiting </li></ul>
  21. 21. MENTOR <ul><li>The leader in expanding the power of mentoring to millions of young Americans who want and need adult mentors. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentor/Mentee Termination Ritual </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>National organization that provides training and technical assistance to youth mentoring programs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Peer Mentoring and Academic Success, Fact Sheet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building Effective Peer Mentoring Programs In Schools: An Introductory Guide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul>NREL
  23. 23. <ul><li>National Association of Peer Programs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sponsors conferences and provides consultation for peer mentoring programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Peer Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Canadian organization that supports peer mentoring </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Other Resources:
  24. 24. <ul><li>This presentation provides an </li></ul><ul><li>overview of Research in Action </li></ul><ul><li>Issue 7: Cross-Age Peer Mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>This tool was produced by MENTOR/The National Mentoring Partnership and can be accessed at </li></ul>