A Relative Efficacy Study of Advanced Training Effects on School-Based Youth Mentors' Attitudes and Experience in the Program
There are currently numerous mentoring programs being implemented across the country. However, research pertaining to the mentors in the mentoring equation is limited. Furthermore, research involving the effects of mentor training is also scarce. This study tested the impact of providing eight hours of theory-based advanced mentor training to school-based mentors. All mentors (n = 149) received basic training from the local community agency that placed the university undergraduate teacher-in-training mentors with youth in schools. In addition, four advanced, one-hour PowerPoint trainings from the Cross-age Mentoring Program Training Guide (Karcher, 2012) and four follow-up reflection trainings were provided to the mentors. Six classes of university students participated, and the students in all classes were required to mentor in the schools as part of the class. The advanced training was provided to two classes (intervention group) of university students as the supplement to the basic training. In four other classes (comparison group), a cultural awareness activity was required as the supplement to the basic training. This relative efficacy quasi-experimental study tested the effects of participating in advanced mentor training by comparing the comparison and intervention group on mentors' perceptions of program quality, as well as on their self-reported mentor self-efficacy, attitudes toward youth, growth mindset, and mentoring relationship quality after one academic semester. These effects were measured using variables collected through surveys completed at the start and the conclusion of the semester. Results suggest that, compared to those in the cultural enrichment condition, students in the advanced training reported higher mentor self-efficacy at the end of the semester. There were no differences between the experimental conditions on perceptions of program quality. Furthermore, training effects on mentoring relationship quality, growth mindset, and attitudes towards youth could not be tested because necessary assumptions for the statistical tests were not met. The findings from this study suggest that additional or ongoing training, beyond traditional orientation and basic training, may help improve mentors' beliefs about their potential success as mentors.