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Mentoring for Enhancing School Attendance, Academic Performance, and Educational Attainment

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2021
58 pages

This literature review examines how youth mentoring influences school attendance, academic performance, and outcomes of educational attainment (APEA).


The review concludes that generally the empirical studies indicate that mentoring programs have a “small-to-moderate” impact on mentees’ academic outcomes; however, even the small effects on APEA outcomes can have a cumulative impact due to the relatively large number of mentoring programs impacting youth. One of the primary factors in the influence mentors have on APEA outcomes is the type of activities included in mentoring. Some mentoring programs have distinguished between two broad types of mentoring activities, i.e., those focused on improving relationship closeness between the mentor and mentee and those focused on helping the mentee develop a skill or achieve a designated goal. The mentoring practices that target school-related skills linked to improved grades and high school graduation are more likely to have a larger than average impact on mentees’ academic performance. Such programs typically have structured training for mentors that focuses on skills building for mentees and ongoing or as-needed supervision. This is not done through strict, authoritarian interactions with the mentee, but rather within the context of an interaction of mutuality, trust, and longer duration. This type of mentoring relationship is the context for setting goals and teaching specific skills. Mentee skills related to APEA include coping skills, help-seeking, growth mindset, and self-efficacy. External skills and resources include stronger connections with schools, parents, and teachers. 53 references

Date Published: December 1, 2021