Lessons learned from four years of peer mentoring in a tiered group program within Education
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Peer mentoring programs are a key means of developing student belonging and engagement, facilitating transition to university, improving retention and academic success. Yet the benefits of peer mentoring can be difficult to measure and quantify. In this paper we present results of an evaluation of a 6-week peer mentoring program with first year education students, after the first 4 years of operation. Analysis of quantitative data, from pre- and post-mentoring questionnaires, found moderate positive correlations between mentees' expectations and actual experience of coming to university with regard to finding satisfying friends (r=.462, p<.001), having a satisfactory academic experience (r =.400, p<.001) and worry about not belonging (r=.436, p<.001). after participating in the program, mentees reported significantly less stress about coming to university (p<.001) and less worry about not belonging (p<.001), but some reduction in their expectations of having a satisfactory academic experience (p<.05), seeing academics as genuinely interested in teaching (p<.05), and their studies preparing them well for wok (p<.05). Analysis of qualitative feedback identified five key themes concerning what mentees liked about the program and included the opportunity to ask questions, talk and discuss their experience; to meet others and make friends; to seek advice, help and guidance; the value of mentors; and how to survive at university. Overall, the benefits of increased belonging and engagement were clearly demonstrated, but it may take longer for academic benefits to be realised.
Journal of the Australia and New Zealand Student Services Association
© 2012 ANZSSA. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Education Assessment and Evaluation