The sum of success can be just 15 minutes

14th March 1997 at 00:00
MENTORS. Half-termly 15-minute chats with a mentor can be the difference between A-level success or failure, a Berkshire study suggests.

Teacher-researchers at Newlands School, Maidenhead, believe that the test scores of Year 12 pupils improved after they were given an opportunity to talk about their work with a teacher-mentor. At the end of the year they achieved higher test scores than than their GCSE results had suggested they would obtain. The improvement equated to an additional UCAS point for an average student taking three A-levels.

In the meetings with mentors, the pupils discussed the work they had done during the previous half-term. They produced examples of their best work and discussed areas that they wanted to improve.

"The mentor and pupil agreed targets which the pupil would work on in the coming weeks and the mentor suggested ways in which the targets might be achieved," said Ian Hylan, a senior teacher at the school. "The intention was to identify specific, incremental steps that the pupil was happy with."

But the Newlands School research suggests that mentoring may not be as useful with younger children. Those Year 7 children who had a mentor performed no better in the end-of-year tests than children of similar ability who were not included in the pilot.

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