New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Does Paired Mentoring Work? A Study of the Effectiveness and Affective Value of Pairing Students Aged 16 with Undergraduate Students in England

Rachael Sharpe, University of Lincoln (United Kingdom)

Nikolaos Fotou, University of Lincoln (United Kingdom)

Ian Abrahams, University of Lincoln (United Kingdom)


Within England there is a growing aim to improve the lives of secondary school students who are defined as disadvantaged as well as supporting these students’ attainment and attitudes to secondary school science. This project was designed to support disadvantaged students who were taking their compulsory public General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) science examination in their final year of secondary education in England (Year 11 – aged 15 to 16) by pairing them with undergraduate mentors from a university. The study, set up as a randomized control trial, involved 86 disadvantaged students across four secondary schools with half being involved in the intervention and half in the control – drawing on an inter and intra school comparison. The mentoring lasted for 23 weeks with an intensive six-hour mentoring session just prior to their GCSE examinations. Data was collected from the Year 11 students’ mock and actual GCSE examinations results as well as questionnaires from both Year 11 and undergraduates. The results found that mentored students did statistically better in terms of their attainment both in mock and actual GCSE examinations as well as a statistically greater improvement in their attitudes to science than un-mentored students. These findings demonstrate the impact and value of academically asymmetrical paired mentoring projects.

Keywords: Paired Mentoring; attitudes; summative assessment; secondary school;

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