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Leveraging Mentee and Mentor Survey Data

With sizable caseloads Program Managers (PMs) should constantly be seeking out ways to focus their support efforts so that pairs are receiving timely and relevant support in developing a strong personal relationship that can be leveraged to help mentees develop the  knowledge, skills and mindsets critical for college success.  Survey data is a great source of information available to PMs with regards to providing invaluable insight into the type of support mentees and mentors can benefit from across their caseload.  However, surveys contain a lot of questions, and therefore, the data can be overwhelming.  This article explores the Fall, Mid-Year and Spring surveys through the lens of managing the large amount of information they generate in service of leveraging individual level survey responses to best support their pairs.  

Use the links in the table below to skip to strategies for leveraging survey data for mentees and mentors during different administration periods.  To access mentee/mentor-level survey data for any administration period, send an email request to the Research and Evaluation team at [email protected]

Survey Administration Period Specific Strategies for:
Fall Mentees                             Mentors
Mid-Year Mentees                             Mentors
Spring Mentees                             Mentors

Leveraging Fall Survey Data

Mentees

The way in which fall survey data is leveraged differs between mentees in new cohorts (or who are being re-matched in a returning cohort) and those that are in returning cohorts.

New Cohorts

The most valuable questions for PMs to review in order to inform their support efforts include:

  • "How much education do you want to get?"
  • "How much education do you think you will get?"
  • "What is the minimum level of education you need to live the life you want?"
  • "Will you be disappointed if you don't graduate from college? "

PMs should compare individual mentee responses to the want and think questions to get an understanding of any potential gaps in the mentee's college aspiration v. their belief in the ability to reach that aspiration. 

First and foremost, this is great contextual knowledge to have in mind when supporting the mentee in class - perhaps that mentee may need additional support during growth mindset lessons or material focused on the tangible steps of the college process (i.e., creating a college list).  Additionally, this information can be great insight to share with mentors during beginning-of-year calls.  PMs should never explicitly share mentee survey responses with mentorsHowever, they can and should tactfully share the information (i.e.,  "It seems like your mentee definitely wants to go to college, but I am not sure they truly believe they can get there.  This is a great place for you to come in and play the mentor role of cheerleader and coach!")

Returning Cohorts

PMs can leverage the college aspiration questions listed above in the new cohorts section, but will also have the ability to get a read on their mentees' perception of their relationships through the Fall survey.  Key questions to focus on for mentees in returning cohorts include:

  • "I trust my mentor"
  • "I am open and honest with my mentor"
  • "I go to my mentor when I need support"
  • "My mentor is a good match for me"

While there are additional questions regarding mentee perceptions on their relationship with their mentor, these are the most critical to pay attention to.

PMs can leverage this information to check-in with mentees that are reporting negative perceptions of their relationship individually to get a better understanding of what is preventing them from having a strong relationship.  This can help the PM reduce the number of mentees they are checking in with in a given week by focusing their efforts where mentees are not having strong relationships and come back to those that are later on.

Additionally, PMs can use information regarding mentees reporting positive perceptions of their relationships to reflect on what makes that relationship strong and how those characteristics can perhaps be applied in support efforts for other pairs.  Alternatively, PMs might ask mentees that are having strong relationships to share their experience with the class (i.e., ask the mentee to share how they got to know their mentor/a cool Pair Expedition the pair went on/etc.) in service of building excitement and buy-in regarding others' idea of mentors.

Mentors

The way in which fall survey data is leveraged differs between mentors in new cohorts (or who are being re-matched in a returning cohort) and those that are in returning cohorts.

New Cohorts

The most valuable questions for PMs to review in order to inform their support efforts include:

  • "How confident are you in your ability to:"
    • "Help my mentee learn how to seek out and use help from others?"
    • "Help my mentee choose and work toward meaningful, realistic, and challenging personal goals?"
    • "Use our staff as a resource to help my match succeed?"
    • "Meet expectations for how frequently you should communicate with your mentee?"

There are several other questions that Mentor responses to these questions can be reviewed prior to beginning-of-year calls or prior to the first pair event in service of understanding how prepared mentors feel to serve their mentee in the role of a mentor.  PMs can then direct their conversations with mentors to close any gaps in confidence the mentor self-reported and/or research resources to share with the mentor based on their lack of confidence in a given area.

Returning Cohorts

The most valuable questions for PMs to review in order to inform their support efforts include:

  • "Did you communicate with your mentee over the summer?"
  • "My mentee trusts me."
  • "My mentee comes to me for support."
  • "My mentee is open and honest with me."

PMs can use the summer communication question to probe into what the pair's interaction looked like while school was not in session and help the mentor build on their summer engagement, if applicable.  If the pair did not communicate over summer, the PM may need to provide some guidance for reconnecting in order to avoid the relationship-equivalent of  summer melt.  

With regards to the relationship questions, PMs can gain an understanding of mentors' perception of their relationship with their mentee and guide their support efforts accordingly.  If a mentor perceives their relationship in a way the PM knows to be untrue, this is a great opportunity to get an understanding of why the mentor feels they way they do and direct them toward the development of a stronger relationship based on PM's contextual knowledge.  IF the mentor reports that the relationship is strong and the PM agrees, this is a great opportunity to provide positive reinforcement! 

Leveraging Mid-Year Survey Data

Mentees

Regardless of whether a pair is in a new or returning cohort, all mentees complete the same mid-year survey.  The most valuable questions for PMs to review in order to inform their support efforts include:

  • "I trust my mentor."
  • "My mentor believes in me and my ability to achieve my goals."
  • "I go to my mentor when I need support"
  • "Has your mentor talked to you about college?"

PMs should always focus on the questions about trust and comfort in going to the mentor for support, regardless of the survey administration period.  The most critical thing for PMs to understand and leverage to drive their support efforts around is the strength of the relationship.  

Additionally, as time goes on, PMs should work to rain an understanding of whether or not mentees feel that their mentor believes in the post-secondary potential.  When positive, this can be a great piece of information to tactfully share with mentors.  PMs should never explicitly share mentee survey responses with mentors.  Instead, they can and should tactfully share the information (i.e.,  "It seems like your relationship with your mentee is going really well and I know they value your unwavering belief in their potential!")  

Finally, if pairs are not talking about college in the later years of programming (i.e., 11th and 12th grade), they aren't on track with the ideal programmatic experience and the PM may need to intervene in order to get the pair talking about post-secondary plans.

Mentors

Regardless of whether a pair is in a new or returning cohort, all mentors complete the same mid-year survey.  The most valuable questions for PMs to review in order to inform their support efforts include:

  • "My mentee trusts me."
  • "My mentee has the potential to succeed in college (or reach their highest post-secondary ambition)"
  • "Please indicate your level of satisfaction with the following items:"
    • "Contact with my Program Manager (i.e., she/he helped to give me strategies to improve my relationship with my mentee)"
    • "The frequency of guidance/support from my Program Manager"
    • "The quality of the guidance/support from my Program Manager"

PMs should always focus on the questions about trust, regardless of the survey administration period.  The most critical thing for PMs to understand and leverage to drive their support efforts around is the strength of the relationship and trust is the cornerstone of the relationship.  The mid-year point is a great time to look at mentee and mentor responses to the "trust" question side-by-side.  By doing this, you can get an understanding of whether mentees and mentors feel the same about their relationship.  To obtain mentee and mentor responses side-buy-side, click HERE to generate an email request to the Research and Evaluation team (be sure to include your cohort in the email body so that they know what data to give you).

Additionally, PMs should focus on questions that are designed to understand how mentor feel about the support they are being provided.  This can help the PM understand where their efforts are appreciated and where they are not in order to focus their attention on the latter in service of closing the mentor's satisfaction gap.

Leveraging Spring Survey Data

Mentees

Regardless of whether a pair is in a new or returning cohort, all mentees complete the same Spring survey (with some minor differences based on grade level).  The most valuable questions for PMs to review in order to inform their support efforts include:

  • "I trust my mentor."
  • "My mentor believes in me and my ability to achieve my goals."
  • "I go to my mentor when I need support"
  • "Please share with us how your relationship with your mentor has developed in the past year. Feel free to share any highs and lows you experienced."
  • "I am happy with the quality of support I am receiving from my Program Manager."
  • "My Program Manager helps strengthen my relationship with my mentor."

PMs should always focus on the questions about trust and comfort in going to the mentor for support, regardless of the survey administration period.  The most critical thing for PMs to understand and leverage to drive their support efforts around is the strength of the relationship.  

As was the case in the Mid-Year survey, mentees are asked about their satisfaction with support.  PMs can use this information to reflect on their year and how mentees felt about the support they received (and will need to do so as a part of their performance evaluation).  However, this information can be used to check-in individually with mentees to get a better understanding about what worked and didn't work with regards to support based on how they responded to the survey.  PMs should never explicitly share that they are checking in with the mentee directly due to their survey responses.  Instead, they can and should approach the subject tactfully (i.e., "I would love to talk about how you felt about the way I helped you a nd your mentor out this year.  Can you tell me anything you liked that I should keep doing or that I can think about to improve for next year?")

Mentors

Regardless of whether a pair is in a new or returning cohort, all mentors complete the same Spring survey (with some minor differences based on grade level).  The most valuable questions for PMs to review in order to inform their support efforts include:

  • "My mentee trusts me."
  • "My mentee comes to me for support."
  • "My mentee is open and honest with me."
  • "I am receiving the support needed from my Program Manager to have a successful mentor-mentee relationship."
  • "Contact with my Program Manager (i.e., she/he helped to give me strategies to improve my relationship with my mentee)"
  • "Please indicate your level of satisfaction with the following items:"
    • "The frequency of guidance/support from my Program Manager
    • "The quality of the guidance/support from my Program Manager"

PMs should always focus on the questions about trust and comfort in going to the mentor for support, regardless of the survey administration period.  The most critical thing for PMs to understand and leverage to drive their support efforts around is the strength of the relationship.  

As was the case in the Mid-Year survey, mentors are asked about their satisfaction with support.  PMs can use this information to reflect on their year and how mentors felt about the support they received (and will need to do so as a part of their performance evaluation).  However, this information can be used to prpare for end-of-year calls with mentors to get a better understanding about what worked and didn't work with regards to support based on how they responded to the survey.  PMs should never explicitly share that they are checking in with the mentor as a direct result of their survey responses.  Instead, they can and should approach the subject tactfully (i.e., "I would love to talk about how you felt about the way I helped you a nd your mentee out this year.  Can you tell me anything you liked that I should keep doing or that I can think about to improve for next year?")