Impact Evaluation of a High School Mentorship Program

The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) has partnered with Thread of Baltimore, Maryland to evaluate their high school mentorship program, an intervention designed to assist underperforming students at risk of dropping out of school. Students are identified for the program if they have GPAs in the bottom quartile after their first semester of 9th grade. Historically, the four-year graduation rate for these students is just 5%. Eligible students are connected to volunteers who help establish goals and identify and remove significant barriers. A key component of the intervention is a model of long-term relationship building across lines of difference, with a goal to construct a permanent social network to youth who are otherwise socioeconomically isolated. To evaluate this program, we will use a randomized control trial (RCT) to examine whether the program improves graduation rates and other educational and early-life outcomes, including standardized test scores, college-going, criminal justice contact, and mortality. Eligible students are randomly assigned to either Thread or a control group, with approximately 550 in each group. Results from this RCT will be disseminated to policymakers and providers across the country to inform the replication and expansion of programs designed to support underperforming high school students.

RFP Cycle:
SPRI RFP XIX [January 2023]
United States of America
  • Full project