ERIC Number: ED483236
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jun
Student Mentoring Programs: Education's Monitoring and Information Sharing Could Be Improved. Report to Congressional Requesters. GAO-04-581
Shaul, Marnie S.
US Government Accountability Office
As part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), Congress authorized a school-based mentoring grant program. This study examined: the basic elements, policies, and procedures of successful mentoring programs; key characteristics of NCLB-funded mentoring efforts (the extent to which they had the basic elements, policies, and procedures of successful mentoring programs); how the Department of Education (Education) monitored program implementation; and Education's and grantees' plans to assess program outcomes. Researchers reviewed relevant literature and found that successful mentoring efforts planned programs carefully prior to implementation; developed policies and procedures to effectively manage programs, including mentor screening and training; ensured program sustainability through marketing; and evaluated program outcomes and disseminated evaluation findings. Researchers reviewed the grant applications of 121 mentoring grantees and visited 11 grantees to speak with grantee staff and mentors and observe mentoring. They also reviewed Education's monitoring policies and procedures, interviewed Education officials about their monitoring, reviewed Education's monitoring documentation, summarized audit findings on mentoring grantees, and interviewed Education officials about their plans for evaluating mentoring programs, reviewing individual grantees' evaluation plans. Most of the 121 grantees shared many characteristics. They had 5 or more years experience mentoring youth, similar goals, and one-to-one mentoring. All grantees listed in their applications that they had some elements of successful programs, but established grantees that researchers visited reported fewer implementation challenges than did newer grantees. Most of those visited said they would benefit from learning about other implementation strategies through information sharing, although Education has not facilitated such information sharing. Education used multiple methods to monitor grantees, including expenditure tracking, but the office responsible for monitoring mentoring grants did not review single audit reports as required by its guidance. Education's Chief Financial Officer reviewed the audits but did not forward audits to the office overseeing the mentoring grants because findings did not pertain to these new grants. However, GAO found that 8 percent of the mentoring grantees had audit findings related to how well they handled other Education grants. Education is currently assessing whether it will conduct an overall evaluation of its mentoring program. It required that all grantees have evaluation plans, and most grantees planned to report on youth outcomes related to academic achievement and attendance. However, grantees planned to use different methodologies, making it difficult for Education to have a cohesive picture of its mentoring program overall. Three appendixes present selected studies on the elements of successful mentoring, characteristics of Education mentoring grantees by state, and GAO contacts and staff acknowledgements.
Descriptors: Educational Legislation, Federal Legislation, Mentors, Federal Government, Program Design, Program Development, Program Effectiveness, Program Implementation, Grants, Information Dissemination
U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room LM, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; TDD: 202-512-2537; Fax: 202-512-6061.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.