November 19, 2009

Add Health research on mentorship of disadvantaged teens covered in ScienceDaily

A new study examining the impact of mentoring on teens’ educational attainment was published in Sociology of Education and featured in ScienceDaily.  The study was conducted by Lance Erickson of Brigham Young University, Steve McDonald of North Carolina State University, and Glen H. Elder, Jr. of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Data from Waves I and III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent showed that having a teacher as a mentor was particularly powerful at promoting achievement among disadvantages youth.

“In the statistical analysis, mentors proved pivotal in whether students make the jump to college. For example, students whose parents do not even have a high school degree are normally 35 percent likely to enroll in college.  According to the study, the rate jumps to 66 percent when the youth considers one of his teachers to be a personal mentor.”

Erickson noted that the “mentors weren’t necessarily doing anything extraordinary, just being involved and treating the young person as an important human being.” (November 5, 2009. Benefit of a Mentor: Disadvantaged Teens Twice As Likely To Attend College.  In ScienceDaily.)

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This article is based on research published as the following:

Erickson, Lance D.; McDonald, Steve; Elder Jr., Glen H. (2009). Informal Mentors and Education: Complementary or Compensatory Resources? Sociology of Education, 82(4):344-367(24).