Evaluating the Outcomes of a Peer-Mentoring Program for Transitioning Postsecondary Students
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A peer-mentoring program was initiated in 2003 for students in an introductory biology course at a university in Ontario, Canada. Students could attend up to 5 peer-mentoring sessions during the 12-week fall semester. Quantitative-survey, participation, and academic data spanning 5 years were reviewed for the purpose of evaluating the program. An objectives-oriented approach was used to determine if the program was meeting its goals to improve students' introductory biology grades, facilitate transitioning experiences, and encourage students to pursue studies in biology. Data analysis revealed characteristics of participants and showed that students who participated in the program felt that it was a valuable experience. Students attending 3 or more sessions performed significantly better in their introductory biology courses than those attending fewer sessions. There were no indications that the peer-mentoring program had any impact on students' perceptions of transitioning to university or on their program selection preferences. Recommendations are made to improve the peer-mentoring program to better align its components and objectives.