Using structured peer mentoring to improve the academic achievement in ninth graders

This descriptive study examined an intervention that utilized peer mentors to support ninth grade students academically and socially. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered from a control group of 90 ninth grade students who had demonstrated grade-level proficiency, yet continued to under perform. These students were placed in a support class with a teacher and trained peer mentors. This study evaluated the impact this intervention had on attendance, grade point average, student behavior, involvement in extracurricular activities, and school connectedness. Students in the support class demonstrated an increase in GPA, improvement in student attendance and student behavior, a high level of school connectedness, and became more involved in extracurricular activities. This study was based on research on high school transitions, interventions, school connectedness, extra-curricular involvement, and peer mentoring. These results are useful for school leaders because it supports the RTI framework by examining an alternative intervention to the traditional remediation. Schools can no longer afford to neglect students who have proven they have the basic skills to be successful, yet continue to under perform. Trained peer mentors can be a cost effective intervention for disconnected and unmotivated ninth grade students. Key words-Peer mentors, school connectedness, Response to Intervention, Link Crew, high school transition, extra-curricular activities.