Evaluating iMentor’s School-Wide College Ready Program

About iMentor’s College Ready Program

Although New York City high school graduation rates are rising steadily, about two thirds of these graduates are unprepared for higher education. A growing body of research demonstrates that being prepared for college requires a complex suite of skills. However, it is less clear how to impart these skills to all students.

iMentor is a nonprofit organization that provides school-based mentoring, with a focus on helping students develop the skills they need to be prepared for and succeed in college. iMentor’s College Ready program partners with schools to pair each incoming 9th grader with a college-educated mentor. iMentor supports the mentoring relationship over four years of high school, providing opportunities for in-person and online communication, as well as a weekly iMentor class. Since 1999, iMentor has supported 8,000 mentee-mentor pairs in NYC.

About Our Evaluation

In 2010, the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) awarded a grant to iMentor to support a rigorous study of the College Ready program. iMentor engaged the Research Alliance to conduct a mixed methods evaluation of the program in eight New York City high schools, with about 1,600 students receiving mentors over the course of the study. Our study, which will continue until 2019, will examine the following questions:

  • Is the iMentor College Ready program being implemented in schools as intended?
  • What are the effects of the College Ready program on students’ non-academic outcomes, such as college aspirations and the ability to navigate the post-secondary process?
  • What are the effects of the College Ready program on students’ academic outcomes, such as grades, credit accumulation, and on-time high school graduation (all of which are likely precursors to college success)?

To answer these questions, we will draw on student surveys, as well as academic records, comparing the outcomes of students who had access to the College Ready program with those of similar students for whom the program was not available. We are also conducting interviews and focus groups in participating schools and collecting a range of data from iMentor’s unique online platform, to learn about the program’s implementation across the eight schools.

 

Supported by a grant to iMentor from a Social Innovation Fund grant through the Pathways Fund, led by New Profit.