Snowden, Michael and Hardy, Tracey (2012) Peer mentorship: yes it does have a positive effect on student retention and academic success. In: ‘What Works? Student Retention and Success, 28th - 29th March 2012, University of York. (Unpublished)
Abstract

This presentation will report upon the findings of an ethnographic case study that examined factors affecting peer mentorship in an undergraduate health and social welfare programme.
The research posed three main questions:
• What are the affects of introducing peer mentorship on learning and assessment performance?
• What impact do social and cultural factors have upon the peer mentorship relationship?
• What are the institutional influences that impact upon peer mentorship?

The study draws upon data collected from a small sample of students (18) who volunteered to act as mentors and mentees within a dyadic relationship over a period of one academic year. Data collection tools included semi structured interviews, reflective journals, student assessment and course evaluation data.

Analysis of the data collected identified a number of key findings:
• Peer mentorship positively influences the learning experience and assessment performance of both mentee and mentor
• Key social and cultural factors are identified that influence the mentoring relationship and its affect upon the learning experience
• The nature of the institution has a significant effect upon the success of a programme.

A number of implications for the practice of peer mentorship are identified and seven key recommendations are made to enhance the learning experience, and mentorship success.

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