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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Action Research:
Assessment & Preparation for Assessment: Investigation into the Effectiveness of a Mentoring Program

Does mentoring borderline sophomore students make a difference in their academic outcomes?


The goal of our action research project was to determine the effectiveness of mentoring tenth-grade students and to monitor their progress on the Delaware State Testing Program. We were looking to see if a link could be established between mentoring and getting students who are considered “borderline” to meet the standards.

Most research shows a positive correlation between student achievement in school and participation in an effective mentoring program. During the 2004–2005 school year, William Penn initiated a staff-to-student mentoring program, focusing on borderline students. Over the year, we examined this program to see if it was effective and what changes could be implemented to make it more so. Our research concluded that there were communication issues between the program’s goals and the people involved. We plan to implement more of a structured mentoring program for the staff, modeled on various programs already successfully implemented across the country. We also plan to identify the students earlier and develop more activities for the staff mentor and student.

Future implications of this program would include extending the mentoring program to include students in the middle schools and continuing the connection beyond the school day to include mentoring for extracurricular activities.

The success of this program will be determined at the end of the 2006 school year with the release of the DSTP scores.We will also determine success based on the overall performance of those students in school. Finally, we look to continue the program well beyond the 2005–2006 school year.


The district should structure the Mentoring Program so that it

  • clarifies teacher and student expectations,
  • improves parent contact and involvement,
  • connects with incoming administrators,
  • identifies ninth graders who need to be matched with mentors for the following school year.


Christine Bowe

High School English
William Penn High School
New Castle

Marsha Evans

High School Math
William Penn High School
New Castle

TNLI Affiliate:

If you would like to learn more about Teachers Network Leadership Institute--Delaware, please e-mail Michael Rasmussen.



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