Youth in Big Brothers Big Sisters Programs Show Improvements in Academic, Behavioral and Socio-Emotional Outcomes
Download an executive summary of the 2011 Youth Outcomes Survey report.
Download the final Enhanced School Based Mentoring pilot report.
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Washington, D.C. (January 24, 2012) – New data from Philadelphia-based Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, developed in partnership with leading researchers, substantiate that the national mentoring program has positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth who face adversity.
The first Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Report shows statistically significant improvements for youth during the first year of enrollment in the organization’s nationwide mentoring program in three targeted outcome areas – educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, such as truancy, and socio-emotional competency. Youth progress in these areas is linked to longer-term outcomes, such as high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency, and college or job readiness.
In another related new report, Big Brothers Big Sisters revealed that in collaboration with leaders in the research field, it has enhanced its School-Based mentoring program. Based on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Enhanced School-Based Mentoring Pilot (ESBM), the organization’s in-school mentoring is resulting in longer, stronger relationships that lead to more positive and sustained youth outcomes.
2011 Youth Outcomes Report
The 2011 Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS) report represents the first nationwide data collected from the organization’s Youth Outcomes Survey, a critical component of its Outcomes Evaluation System that fosters program accountability, improvement and growth to achieve both individual and community impact. By measuring changes in three main areas—school-related performance, risky behaviors and socio-emotional competency— the YOS builds on two longstanding research studies conducted by Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) that found youth enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs experienced positive improvements in those areas.
Big Brothers Big Sisters’ YOS tracks changes in eight areas. Designed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in collaboration with P/PV and Dr. Jean Rhodes, University of Massachusetts Boston, the eight measures are: social acceptance; scholastic competency; grades; educational expectations; attitudes toward risk; parental trust; truancy; and presence of a special adult. Highlights of the 2011 YOS reflect changes in youth after being matched with a mentor either one year in a Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based program or one academic year in its School-Based program. Highlights after one year include:
• The YOS found statistically significant improvement in Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based matched youth in all three areas—educational-related success, avoidance of risky behaviors and socio-emotional competency. Statistically significant improvement in School-Based youth attitudes was found in two areas—educational-related success and socio-emotional competency;
• Statistically significant improvement was found in 6 of 8 outcome measures for Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based mentoring program and 5 of 8 outcome measures for its School-Based program;
• 97.9% and 96.6% of youth maintained an average or above average score(1) or indicated improvement in the area of socio-emotional competence for Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based and its School-Based programs, respectively;
• 88.8% and 83.4% of youth maintained an average or above average score(1) or indicated improvement in the area of avoidance of risky behaviors for Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based and School-Based programs, respectively;
• 94.5% and 95.2% of youth maintained an average or above average score(1) or indicated improvement in the area of educational success for Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based and School-Based programs, respectively;
• 91.5% of youth showed improvement or maintained an average or above average score(1) across at least 3 of 8 outcome measures in Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based programs; and 89.4% in its School-Based program.
(1) Maintaining and improving was determined by whether a child scored at or above the mean at baseline and maintained that score at follow-up or had a higher score at follow-up compared to baseline.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Outcomes Evaluation System and the continued internal and external research that feed into it enhance our capabilities to serve youth and communities with increasingly greater impact,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Co-CEO Mack Koonce. “This first YOS report is an exciting next chapter for us. It is part of a system that enables us to evaluate our programs in real-time, continuously learn, identify best practices and drive improvements to our mentoring programs. We hold ourselves accountable to the children and families we serve and our volunteers, donors and community partners who provide the resources that make our work possible.”
“Over the past several years, the evaluation field has been moving steadily toward more rigorous methodology,” said P/PV’s Dr. Carla Herrera. “I applaud Big Brothers Big Sisters’ long-standing commitment to quality and the organization’s thoughtful use of data and evaluation to understand and improve its programs. YOS will support Big Brothers Big Sisters’ already strong leadership of top-notch mentoring programs for our nation’s youth.”
Enhanced School-Based Mentoring Pilot
The Big Brothers Big Sisters Enhanced School-Based Mentoring (ESBM) pilot was designed to foster stronger and longer lasting mentoring relationships in a school-based environment. This area of improvement was identified as a need in a 2007 P/PV study of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ School-Based Mentoring Program. The pilot evaluated the effect of research-driven practices intended to achieve the goal of strengthening and extending the length of mentoring relationships in Big Brothers Big Sisters’ School-Based Mentoring Program.
Results of the ESBM pilot indicate a substantial improvement in mentoring match retention by the Big Brothers Big Sisters pilot group. For example, of youth studied in the pilot, 56 percent continued their program enrollment into a second year compared to 40 percent in the 2007 study. As a result, data collected from the pilot also indicated statistically significant positive changes in educational-related outcomes. This finding complements the 2007 report that indicated youth participating in the program had positive academic outcomes including higher grades, higher feelings of academic competence, fewer school infractions and less skipping of school.
“I continue to be impressed with the commitment of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization to fully embrace an evidence-driven approach to program improvement,” Herrera said. “The ESBM pilot project demonstrates how knowledge, effort and resources can be marshaled to make a meaningful difference in program quality. Big Brothers Big Sisters is truly ‘moving the dial’ in a definitive manner.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters will present its 2011 Youth Outcomes Report and Enhanced School-Based Mentoring Pilot findings at the second annual National Mentoring Summit, Invest in the Future: Mentor a Child, January 24-25, in Washington, D.C. An alliance of MENTOR, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Harvard School of Public Health, the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and United Way Worldwide is hosting the Summit.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports them in one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course. The organization holds itself accountable for children in the program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as higher aspirations; greater confidence and better relationships; educational success; and avoidance of delinquency and other risky behaviors. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated. Headquartered in Philadelphia with a network of about 360 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters has approximately 630,000 participants, including our volunteer mentors, their mentees, and the children’s parents/guardians. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer at BigBrothersBigSisters.org.