Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

Working Papers,
Stockholm School of Economics, Center for Educational Leadership and Excellence

No 21/2: Can mentorship improve students’ study skills and academic performance?

Erik Liss () and Karl Wennberg
Additional contact information
Erik Liss: Linköping University
Karl Wennberg: Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, Center for Education and Leadership Excellence, Saltmätargatan 13-17, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm

Abstract: Research suggest that tutoring initiatives sometimes, but not always, improve academic performance and help induce interest in the pursuit of higher education. We investigate whether mentorship can improve academic performance and aspirations among lower secondary school students from underprivileged backgrounds by evaluating a collaborative project where three cohorts of ninth graders engaged in weekly meetings with university students during a one-year period. The purpose of the Mentorship Project was to offer study support and to inspire students to pursue higher education. The results indicate that participation in the project led to higher grades in the subjects English, social studies, science, and ‘Swedish as a second language’ relative to a control group of ninth-graders who did not participate in the project. The participants also accumulated higher grade point averages and were more likely to choose university prep high school programs. Our statistical analysis combined with survey data and interviews with project participants and organizers indicate that clear expectations, which encourage students to commit to regular attendance, coupled with a direct connection to the school, seem to have contributed to the Mentorship Project's success.

Keywords: Mentorship; Academic performance; Aspirations; Lower secondary school students

29 pages, November 30, 2021

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