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Helping Others Pursue Excellence in Public Schools: Assessing the Impact of HOPE CDC's Mentoring Program

NCJ Number
Stephen M. Haas Ph.D.; Erica Turley B.S.
Date Published
October 2011
24 pages
This report presents the results of an impact study of the HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Excellence) Community Development Corporation's mentoring program (HOPE CDC) in West Virginia, which is a faith-based initiative intended to improve academic performance and behavior of at-risk youth by providing mentors in typically under-performing schools.
The mentors develop positive relationships with the youth by engaging in various activities with them, mainly at the school. Academic tutoring and lessons related to moral development are also provided in an effort to encourage the youth to become better students and citizens. Regarding the process evaluation, HOPE CDC experienced common implementation issues at the beginning of the school year. In addition, the model chosen as a basis for the HOPE CDC mentoring program was not evidence-based, and it departed from the curriculum in several important ways. Both program and school staff reported that the program focused on academic performance and tutoring rather than mentoring. Other program weaknesses include little or no evidence of formal performance monitoring and an inadequate use of community resources. Despite these programmatic issues, however, school staff indicated a high level of support for the program and its expansion. Regarding program impacts (outcomes), posttest analysis showed little or no difference in school performance and measured behaviors between students who participated in the HOPE CDC program and students who did not participate in the program (control group). This may have been partly due to differences in the two groups at pretest. Many of the pretest scores were high on various measures, making it more difficult to determine program impact over time. A total of 129 students were enrolled in the study (95 students in the fourth and fifth grades, and 34 students in sixth and ninth grades). Students were randomly assigned to either the treatment group or the control group. 7 tables and 20 references