U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

The Effect of Mentoring on School Attendance and Academic Outcomes: A Randomized Evaluation of the Check & Connect Program

NCJ Number
Jonathan Guryan; Sandra Christenson; Ashley Cureton; Ijun Lai; Jens Ludwig; Catherine Schwarz; Emma Shirey; Mary Clair Turner
Date Published
99 pages

This paper reports on a large-scale, randomized controlled trial in partnership with Check & Connect and Chicago Public Schools, to explore the effects of increased support from a student monitoring and mentoring program, in order to address a key social-policy priority of improving high school graduation rates for disadvantaged urban youth.


The authors report on a large-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT)  of a policy effort to improve student school attendance. The authors analyzed the intervention, called Check & Connect (C&C), in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to students in first through eighth grades. The C&C program seeks to supplement the social capital that parents can provide children, to support them in school by assigning students to an in-school mentor. They found that program participation decreased absences in fifth through seventh grades by 4.2 days, or 22.9 percent, but with no detectable effects on students in grades one through four. The authors also did not find statistically significant effects on learning outcomes such as test scores or GPA, or any detectable spillovers to other students within the schools where the program was administered. The modest impacts per dollar spent, compared to previous evidence on either low-cost "nudges" or relatively intensive, higher-cost interventions, raise the possibility that, for very disadvantaged students, program intensity may have decreasing but then increasing returns related to student disengagement.