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Achievement Mentoring

A school-based intervention that aims to reduce drug use and school failure among high-risk adolescents through small group meetings focused on enhancing school attendance, promptness, achievement, and discipline.

Program Outcomes

  • Academic Performance
  • Alcohol
  • Delinquency and Criminal Behavior
  • Employment
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Truancy - School Attendance

Program Type

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Training
  • School - Individual Strategies
  • Truancy Prevention

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Selective Prevention

Age

  • Early Adolescence (12-14) - Middle School

Gender

  • Both

Race/Ethnicity

  • All

Endorsements

Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Brenna H. Bry, Ph.D.
Rutgers University
Grad. Sch. of Applied & Professional Psychology
152 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
bbry@rci.rutgers.edu

Program Developer/Owner

Brenna H. Bry, Ph.D.
Rutgers University


Brief Description of the Program

Achievement Mentoring (formerly Behavioral Monitoring and Reinforcement Program) is a school-based intervention designed to change the negative school behavior of middle school adolescents. Students meet in small groups and systematically work through behavior change. The intervention consists of four components: (1) Collecting up-to-date information about each student's school-related behavior; (2) Providing systematic feedback to the student and/or the parents about the student's behavior; (3) Attaching point values to the student's behavior to earn incentives; and (4) Helping the student figure out how he/she can earn more points. The program lasts for two years.

Blueprints has not certified the high school adaptation of the program.

Outcomes

Program effects for the middle school program include:

  • Significantly higher attendance and grades for intervention youths after two program years.
  • One year posttest, intervention subjects were more likely to have had a job.
  • Intervention youths less likely to have been involved in criminal behavior one year posttest.
  • Significantly lower rates of illegal drug use for intervention youths at one-year follow-up.
  • Intervention youths 66% less likely to have a juvenile record five years posttest.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

The middle school program was evaluated with two sets of forty 7th graders, one from a low-income, inner-city school and one from a middle-class, suburban school, were matched (via yoked-control) into twenty pairs based on relevant school failure variables. Each pair member was then randomly assigned to the intervention or control group condition. The control group received no special program at all. For the one-year follow-up, biweekly booster sessions were available to the experimental group; however, fewer than 50% attended, the rest were mailed notes from the meeting. Because there were no race, age, sex, socioeconomic status, or initial achievement motivation differences between schools, data from the two samples was pooled for the one-year follow-up. Sixty-six 9th grade subjects (of a possible 80) were the target of the one-year follow-up. Sixty-three participated in the interview on employment, drug and alcohol use, and criminal behaviors. Court records were analyzed for a five-year follow-up.

Study 1

Bry, B. H. (1982). Reducing the incidence of adolescent problems through preventive intervention: One- and five-year follow-up. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10(3), 265-276.


Bry, B. H., & George, F. E. (1980). The preventive effects of early intervention on the attendance and grades of urban adolescents. Professional Psychology, 11, 252-260.


Risk Factors

Individual: Antisocial/aggressive behavior*, Favorable attitudes towards antisocial behavior

School: Low school commitment and attachment, Poor academic performance*

Protective Factors

Individual: Clear standards for behavior, Prosocial behavior

Family: Attachment to parents

School: Rewards for prosocial involvement in school


* Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details
All youth

Sites interested in implementing the Achievement Mentoring Program purchase a package of services from the Princeton Center for Leadership Training (PCLT) that includes training, curriculum, ongoing technical support, and fidelity monitoring. Specifically, the following services are included:

  • An initial, on-site meeting (3 hours) with administrators and other key stakeholders to prepare for program implementation
  • Two days (10 hours), on-site implementation training (for up to 5 mentors)
  • A follow-up, on-site meeting (3 hours) with administrators and other key stakeholders to assess program implementation progress and sustainability plan
  • Certificate of Attendance for each training participant upon completion of the training
  • Manuals (for up to 5 mentors)
  • Weekly Reporting Forms (brief checklist to be completed by mentors and submitted to program developer/PCLT on a weekly basis)
  • Electronic reminders to prompt mentors to complete and submit Weekly Reporting Forms
  • Monthly Mentoring Summary Report (report on mentoring activities sent to building administrator and on-site mentoring coordinator)
  • 30 hours of consultation/technical assistance to mentors (1 hour every other week, provided in a group setting via phone - consultation typically occurs on a bi-weekly basis and is scheduled at a mutually convenient time for the consultant, Program Coordinator, and mentors)
  • End-of-year Certificate of Participation for each mentor who completes mentor training, participates in 70% of consultation/technical assistance meetings, provides mentoring to students, and submits 100% of Weekly Reporting Forms (Note: this does not mean that the mentor must meet with each mentee on a weekly basis, but he/she must submit the Weekly Reporting Form indicating that no meeting occurred)
  • End-of-year letter from program developer that certifies the program was conducted with fidelity (Note: Letter will be provided if Weekly Reporting Forms are completed by mentors and indicate regular mentoring is provided to mentees.)

NOTE: Mentors must participate in the initial mentor implementation training in order to be eligible to provide mentoring to students.

The following includes a more detailed description of the training that is provided:

Stakeholder Meetings with District/Agency Administrators

Initial and follow-up (3-hour) stakeholder meetings with the district/agency administrators and site-based coordinator focus on planning and preparing for program implementation and ensuring that the necessary systems and processes are in place to ensure the mentors are able to participate in mentor training, have time in their schedule to meet with mentees, and are able to access student school records. Another focus of these meetings includes developing a plan to introduce the program to the school faculty and other student support personnel who will play a role in providing the mentors with information about the mentees. In addition, these stakeholder meetings focus on facilitating communication among district/agency administrators, the program/site-based coordinator, and the mentors, as well as assessing program progress, troubleshooting obstacles, and developing a program sustainability plan.

Training for Program Delivery Staff

An initial 2-day implementation training is for the program/site-based coordinator and the adult mentors and focuses on the specific components of the program model, its theoretical basis, and developing the skills and competencies needed to be an effective mentor. It is a program requirement that any individual who intends to mentor students participate in this initial training.

Location of Meetings/Training

The stakeholder meetings and initial implementation training take place at the implementation site or a nearby location. The program developer, Dr. Brenna Bry, or trainers from the Princeton Center for Leadership Training, Dr. Bry's training arm, travel to the implementation site to provide the initial training.

Program Benefits (per individual): $9,441
Program Costs (per individual): $1,342
Net Present Value (Benefits minus Costs, per individual): $8,098
Measured Risk (odds of a positive Net Present Value): 64%

Source: Washington State Institute for Public Policy
All benefit-cost ratios are the most recent estimates published by The Washington State Institute for Public Policy for Blueprint programs implemented in Washington State. These ratios are based on a) meta-analysis estimates of effect size and b) monetized benefits and calculated costs for programs as delivered in the State of Washington. Caution is recommended in applying these estimates of the benefit-cost ratio to any other state or local area. They are provided as an illustration of the benefit-cost ratio found in one specific state. When feasible, local costs and monetized benefits should be used to calculate expected local benefit-cost ratios. The formula for this calculation can be found on the WSIPP website.

Start-Up Costs

Initial Training and Technical Assistance

A one-time start-up fee for the Achievement Mentoring program is $20,000, plus trainer travel. This includes three days of on-site training for up to 5 mentors, program manuals for 5 mentors, reporting forms, and monthly consultation with mentors for two academic years.

Curriculum and Materials

Curriculum and materials are included in the start-up fee listed under initial training and technical assistance.

Materials Available in Other Language: A program brochure and parent letter are available in Spanish, at no additional cost. No other program materials have been translated.

Licensing

None.

Other Start-Up Costs

None.

Intervention Implementation Costs

Ongoing Curriculum and Materials

Minimal photocopying of reporting forms required.

Staffing

When offered by a school, mentors are usually existing school staff members who volunteer their time as mentors. Mentoring usually occurs during the school day. In some instances mentors have been compensated for their time, although this is unusual.

Other Implementation Costs

Costs for optional in-school AM program launch luncheon and year-end AM program awards luncheon. In a school-based program, there is no cost for space or transportation. Costs for space and transportation would need to be considered for implementation at a non-school site. Sites may also want to consider providing mentee and mentor incentives.

Implementation Support and Fidelity Monitoring Costs

Ongoing Training and Technical Assistance

These costs are included in the start-up fee listed above.

Fidelity Monitoring and Evaluation

The start-up fee includes fidelity monitoring and program evaluation (mentor and mentee surveys) for the first two years.

Ongoing License Fees

None.

Other Implementation Support and Fidelity Monitoring Costs

No information is available

Other Cost Considerations

No information is available

Year One Cost Example

The following example is for a school to initiate the Achievement Mentoring program with 5 mentors and 20 students (4 per mentor).

Start-up Fee (includes training, materials, on-going consultation, fidelity monitoring and program evaluation) $20,000.00
Travel - estimated cost varies depending on site location $3,500.00
Total One Year Cost $23,500.00

Fee also covers second school year of AM program.
For a school to initiate the Achievement Mentoring program with 5 mentors and 20 mentees, the Year 1 cost would be $23,500. This consists of the initial start-up fee and trainer travel. The cost per mentee would be $1175 for the two school years of the program.

Funding Overview

Achievement Mentoring would rely on grants and fundraising for financial support. In this case, funds would be needed primarily to pay the one-time start-up cost.

Funding Strategies

Improving the Use of Existing Public Funds

No information is available

Allocating State or Local General Funds

Grant funding from departments of education and juvenile justice agencies at the local and state levels should be explored.

Maximizing Federal Funds

Discretionary Grants: Discretionary grants from a variety of federal agencies should be considered in support of the Achievement Mentoring Program. Department of Education grant opportunities are an obvious source. With its focus on youth behavior, Department of Justice grants should be explored, in particular those issued by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Foundation Grants and Public-Private Partnerships

Foundation grants, particularly from foundations with a focus on educational achievement, juvenile justice and mentoring, would be excellent sources of funding for Behavioral Monitoring.

Debt Financing

No information is available

Generating New Revenue

Fundraising by a PTA as well as corporate giving should be considered as sources of start-up funding.

Data Sources

All information comes from the responses to a questionnaire submitted by the purveyors of Achievement Mentoring at the Princeton Center for Leadership Training to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Program Developer/Owner

Brenna H. Bry, Ph.D.Rutgers UniversityGraduate School of Applied Professional Psychology152 Frelinghuysen RoadPiscataway, NJ 8854bbry@rci.rutgers.edu

Program Outcomes

  • Academic Performance
  • Alcohol
  • Delinquency and Criminal Behavior
  • Employment
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Truancy - School Attendance

Program Specifics

Program Type

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Training
  • School - Individual Strategies
  • Truancy Prevention

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Selective Prevention

Program Goals

A school-based intervention that aims to reduce drug use and school failure among high-risk adolescents through small group meetings focused on enhancing school attendance, promptness, achievement, and discipline.

Population Demographics

The program targets middle and junior high school students at high risk for increasing school failure experiences. Teens are considered to be at-risk if they meet at least two of three criteria: (1) low academic motivation, (2) family problems, i.e., feeling of distance from the family, and (3) frequent or serious discipline referrals.

Target Population

Age

  • Early Adolescence (12-14) - Middle School

Gender

  • Both

Race/Ethnicity

  • All

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

All youth

Other Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors: low academic motivation, a disregard for rules, and a feeling of distance from the family.

Protective Factors: natural community of reinforcers in society which maintain positive behavior, belief that desired consequences are gained through the subjects' own actions.

Risk/Protective Factor Domain

  • Individual
  • School
  • Family

Risk/Protective Factors

Risk Factors

Individual: Antisocial/aggressive behavior*, Favorable attitudes towards antisocial behavior

School: Low school commitment and attachment, Poor academic performance*

Protective Factors

Individual: Clear standards for behavior, Prosocial behavior

Family: Attachment to parents

School: Rewards for prosocial involvement in school


*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program

Brief Description of the Program

Achievement Mentoring (formerly Behavioral Monitoring and Reinforcement Program) is a school-based intervention designed to change the negative school behavior of middle school adolescents. Students meet in small groups and systematically work through behavior change. The intervention consists of four components: (1) Collecting up-to-date information about each student's school-related behavior; (2) Providing systematic feedback to the student and/or the parents about the student's behavior; (3) Attaching point values to the student's behavior to earn incentives; and (4) Helping the student figure out how he/she can earn more points. The program lasts for two years.

Blueprints has not certified the high school adaptation of the program.

Description of the Program

Achievement Mentoring is a two-year school-based intervention designed to change the negative school behavior of middle school adolescents. Students meet in small groups systematically work through behavior change. The intervention consists of four components: (1) Collecting up-to-date information about each student's school-related behavior (from daily attendance, tardiness, and disciplinary action records, and interviews with teachers); (2) Providing systematic feedback to the student and/or the parents about the student's behavior; (3) Attaching point values to the student's behavior (e.g., points for coming to school, not being tardy, receiving no disciplinary action, etc.), with points earned towards an extra school trip; and (4) Helping the student figure out how he/she can earn more points.

Theoretical Rationale

The program is based on behavior modification theory. It is based on the findings of various research studies indicating that problem behaviors in adolescents are preceded by increases in cynicism about the predictability of the world and decreases in the sense of competence to deal with it. Additionally, this cynicism can be prevented and self-efficacy increased through repeated exposure to environments in which it is clear that desired consequences are gained through the subject's own actions.

Theoretical Orientation

  • Self Efficacy
  • Behavioral

Brief Evaluation Methodology

The middle school program was evaluated with two sets of forty 7th graders, one from a low-income, inner-city school and one from a middle-class, suburban school, were matched (via yoked-control) into twenty pairs based on relevant school failure variables. Each pair member was then randomly assigned to the intervention or control group condition. The control group received no special program at all. For the one-year follow-up, biweekly booster sessions were available to the experimental group; however, fewer than 50% attended, the rest were mailed notes from the meeting. Because there were no race, age, sex, socioeconomic status, or initial achievement motivation differences between schools, data from the two samples was pooled for the one-year follow-up. Sixty-six 9th grade subjects (of a possible 80) were the target of the one-year follow-up. Sixty-three participated in the interview on employment, drug and alcohol use, and criminal behaviors. Court records were analyzed for a five-year follow-up.

Outcomes (Brief, over all studies)

Intervention effects became evident after two program years. Significant differences were found after the second program year when control subjects' grades and attendance continued to decline while intervention subjects' grades and attendance significantly improved. However, there were no significant differences for disciplinary actions. One-year post-test, intervention youths were significantly more likely to have had a job and were less likely to have been involved in criminal behavior. Intervention youths also reported significantly lower rates of illegal drug use (3% vs. 16%), with the exception of marijuana and alcohol use, for which the intervention yielded no significant differences. At five years posttest, intervention youths were 66% less likely to have a juvenile record than controls.

Outcomes

Program effects for the middle school program include:

  • Significantly higher attendance and grades for intervention youths after two program years.
  • One year posttest, intervention subjects were more likely to have had a job.
  • Intervention youths less likely to have been involved in criminal behavior one year posttest.
  • Significantly lower rates of illegal drug use for intervention youths at one-year follow-up.
  • Intervention youths 66% less likely to have a juvenile record five years posttest.

Generalizability

Researchers reported that there was no evidence in the initial studies that outcomes differed as a function of race, age, sex, socioeconomic status, or initial achievement motivation, but there is no specific evidence presented on any of these variables other than socioeconomic status, as data for the low- and middle-income samples were pooled for the follow-up study. It is not clear that the program effects were analyzed for race or gender effects at either follow-up, which is when effects on outcomes of interest (delinquency) emerged.

Potential Limitations

No effects after one program year and no differences in disciplinary actions after two program years. Effects at one-year follow-up were only marginally significant for criminal behavior and were non-significant for marijuana and alcohol use. Although this sample is small, the study design is strong, and there is little attrition.

Notes

This intervention yielded no significant effects upon one completed program year but produced significant improvement after two completed program years.

Endorsements

Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Brenna H. Bry, Ph.D.
Rutgers University
Grad. Sch. of Applied & Professional Psychology
152 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
bbry@rci.rutgers.edu

References

Study 1

Certified Bry, B. H. (1982). Reducing the incidence of adolescent problems through preventive intervention: One- and five-year follow-up. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10(3), 265-276.

Bry, B. H., & George, F. E. (1979). Evaluating and improving prevention programs: A strategy from drug abuse. Evaluation and Program Planning, 2, 127-136.

Certified Bry, B. H., & George, F. E. (1980). The preventive effects of early intervention on the attendance and grades of urban adolescents. Professional Psychology, 11, 252-260.

Study 1

Evaluation Methodology

Design: The evaluation of Achievement Mentoring (formerly Behavioral Monitoring and Reinforcement) included two sets of forty seventh graders, one from a low-income, inner-city school (n=40) and one from a middle-class, suburban school (n=40), who met selection criteria (exhibiting two of three criteria: (1) low academic motivation, (2) family problems, i.e., feeling of distance from the family, or (3) frequent or serious discipline referrals) were matched (via yoked-control) into twenty pairs based on relevant school failure variables. Each pair member was then randomly assigned to the intervention or control group condition, both of which lasted for two school years. The control group received no special program at all, although the typical resources within the school system were available to these students. The selected students had been absent from school for an average of 22 days during sixth grade and had a D+ GPA. There were no significant differences between the program and control groups on sixth grade GPA and attendance prior to the start of the treatment. For the one-year follow-up, biweekly booster sessions were available to the experimental group; however, fewer than 50% attended, the rest were mailed notes from the meeting.

Sample: Since there was no evidence in the initial studies that outcomes differed as a function of race, age, sex, socioeconomic status, or initial achievement motivation, for the follow-up study, the data for the low- and middle-income samples were pooled. The sample included 44 males and 22 females (mean age = 15 1/2), 36 (54%) from the suburban school system and 30 (46%) from the urban school system, who had completed the two-year program and were targeted for the one-year follow-up. Forty-two percent were African American and the rest (58%) were white. Sixty-three subjects participated in the follow-up interview (two students refused to be interviewed while the parents of one other student failed to provide consent), but school records for this sample could only be obtained for 58 students. Finally, 60 subjects (mean age=19 1/2; 75% of original sample) were the target of the five-year follow-up.

Measures: Measures for the initial report included absences, tardies, grades and disciplinary actions. For the one-year follow-up, subjects were interviewed on employment, frequency and recency of drug use, quantity, frequency, and recency of alcohol use, and frequencies of four criminal behaviors - vandalism, car theft, grand theft, and robbery. For the five-year follow-up, criminal records were obtained to examine intervention effects on delinquency.

Analysis: Posttest analysis was conducted with Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks tests to analyze change over the two year program period. Chi-square analysis was employed to compare intervention and control group differences on follow-up outcome measures, although a Mann-Whitney U test was used to test for differences in reported criminal behavior in the one-year follow-up.

Outcomes

Posttest (Bry & George, 1980): This publication reports results of implementation in the inner-city school sample only. While 20 matched pairs began the program, five students transferred during the second program year, leaving 15 matched pairs available for analysis (n =15 for both the experimental and control group). Over the two year period, there were significant differences between the changes in the program students' grades and attendance and those of the control group. The two-year trend showed no program effects after one year in the program; both groups were experiencing school failure. However, significant differences were found after the second program year when control subjects' grades and attendance continued to decline while intervention subjects' grades and attendance improved. However, there were no significant differences for disciplinary actions.

One-Year Follow-Up (Bry, 1982): Because there were no significant differences between the urban and suburban school samples, data were pooled for the follow-up studies. Thus, the sample at the one-year follow-up included 36 students from the suburban school and 30 students from the urban school. At the point of one-year follow-up, the extent of school-based problems (i.e., suspension, absenteeism, tardiness, and academic failure) was significantly different between the intervention and control groups combined sample, with more problems experienced by the control group.

One and one-half years after the main program period, using self-report data, experimental youth were significantly more likely than control youth to have had a job. The intervention group was significantly lower than the control group members in reports of abuse of the class of drugs which includes hallucinogens, stimulants, glue, tranquilizers, and barbiturates (p<.09). The Chi-Square was non-significant for marijuana use, and the instances of cocaine and heroin use were too few to analyze. There was no significant difference for alcohol abuse. There was a marginally significant difference between the intervention and control groups in reported criminal behavior (p<.075). Eleven intervention subjects reported a sum of 19 instances of criminal behavior; 18 control subjects reported 45 instances. Examination of school records shows significant differences between the two groups on school-based problems (suspensions, absenteeism, tardies, and promotions to next grade), with results favoring the intervention group.

Five-Year Follow-Up (Bry, 1982): At the five-year follow-up, there were 60 students remaining for examination. The distributions of gender, age, race, and original school system among the dropped students did not differ from those who remained in the study.

There was no evidence of intervention effects upon drug-related arrests -- only one subject in each group had any. However, significantly fewer of the intervention subjects had county court files (i.e., juvenile record) than the control subjects (3 compared to 9).

Contact

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Behavioral Science
UCB 483, Boulder, CO 80309

Email: blueprints@colorado.edu

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Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is
currently funded by Arnold Ventures (formerly the Laura and John Arnold Foundation) and historically has received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.