Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
Abt Associates conducted an evaluation – for the Institute of Educational Sciences – of the U.S. Department of Education's Student Mentoring Program. Authorized under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act, the program is meant to address the lack of supportive adults at critical junctures in the lives of at-risk youth in grades 4 to 8. Since its inception in 2002, the federal Student Mentoring initiative has funded more than 300 mentoring programs around the country, providing mentors to many thousands of students.
The study employed a student-level random assignment design, evaluating students assigned to participate in mentoring programs and comparing them to similar students who signed up to participate but were not assigned to the programs, but who were free to seek other mentoring services in their community. Thirty-two school-based mentoring programs and 2,573 students took part in the evaluation.
The evaluation found that the program did not lead to statistically significant impacts on students in the three major areas tested: academic achievement and advancement; interpersonal relationships and personal responsibility; and high risk or delinquent behavior.
However, impact estimates calculated across five subgroups found four outcomes to be statistically significant. Specifically, the evaluation found increased self-reported scholastic efficacy and school bonding for girls; increased self-reported future orientation for boys, such as an intention to graduate from high school and attend college; decreased truancy for students under age 12; and decreased self-reported prosocial behavior for boys, such as community involvement and relationship with parents.
Read the final evaluation.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.