Author(s)

Sean McCarron

Date Approved

8-31-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Coaxum, James III

Subject(s)

Mentoring in education;Academic achievement;Minority students

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

The extent to which school and community resources are utilized by partially proficient students affects their academic and social proficiency (Anderson & Pellicer, 1998; Shann, 2001). All too often a school system will initiate new programs and resources without adequately targeting the students who would benefit most, or not provide the management and leadership necessary, causing the support systems to be ineffective (Munoz, Ross, & McDonald, 2007). Regardless of the varying support systems in place at Wayside Middle School, four subgroups of students have not been achieving academic proficiency as identified by the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK), the test given to all students in grades 3 through 8 in the state of New Jersey. The purpose of my research was to look at the effects peer mentoring groups would have on moving a student from being identified as below proficient to proficiency. To accomplish my research purpose, I applied a mixed methods (Creswell, 2003) approach and identified the necessary steps for the action research to be successful. Within my action research cycles, I applied quantitative methods through a survey and data analysis identifying a baseline. In addition, qualitative methods of formal and informal observations and semi-structured interviews were conducted to understand the perceptions of students, staff, and parents allowing me to identify root causes for low performance. I used the data collected to identify the effects that peer mentoring groups had on the selected students socially and academically. Through this research I found that although there were minor academic changes for the students involved, a greater impact was evident on the students overall enjoyment of school and ability to interact with others.

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