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Program Profile: Project Arrive

Evidence Rating: No Effects - More than one study No Effects - More than one study

Date: This profile was posted on June 16, 2020

Program Summary

This is a group mentoring intervention for students at risk of drop out. The program is rated No Effects. Compared with a comparison group, participants received more credits and statistically significant higher scores in school support, belonging, and meaningful participation; peer caring relationships; prosocial peers; home meaningful participation; and problem solving; but not in rates of juvenile offenses, GPAs, instructional time received, or perceptions of home support and self-awareness.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
Project Arrive uses meaningful relationships with mentors and peers to help participants develop academic and life skills and to provide them with access to resources within their schools and communities. The program focuses on youth at risk of dropping out of school, including students who have had challenges related to regular school attendance and/or academic performance.

Program Components
Eligible students are identified in eighth grade as being at risk for dropping out of school using an Early Warning Indicators (EWI) system based on a history of academic failure (GPA less than 2.0) and truancy (receipt of less than 87.5 percent instructional time) during eighth grade. Program enrollment is voluntary.

Each mentoring group typically consists of two volunteer co-mentors, who are either school staff or community partners, and six to eight students. Groups are expected to meet weekly, during school hours, for 50 minutes during the fall and spring semesters.

Mentors receive 4 hours of training prior to the start of the program as well as monthly supervision and logistical support from a program coordinator. Mentors are also provided with program procedural and curricular materials and have access to a website with activities corresponding to the stages of group formation (forming, storming, norming, and performing). For each stage of group development, mentors can access information on what to expect from mentors and mentees, signs that the group is moving to the next stage, and activities that may help the group move through stages. The website also provides resources to help address common adolescent issues (e.g., identity formation, conflict resolution, study skills.). Mentors are encouraged to work collaboratively with their groups to develop activities and topics in line with overall program goals.

Using curriculum and creativity to tailor mentoring sessions to the diverse needs and interests of each group, Project Arrive group mentors are also encouraged to help students build positive connections with peers and adults; develop a sense of belonging and safety within the larger school community; get consistent support in addressing barriers to academic and life success; and participate in special events, outings, and leadership opportunities throughout the year.

Key Personnel
Mentors are volunteer school staff (counselors, advisors, principals, etc.) or staff from community partners (e.g., local nonprofits). They are trained and supported by a full-time program coordinator who provides both pre-program training and ongoing support. The program coordinator also assists in recruiting and enrolling students in the program and serves as a liaison between each school and the school district’s student support program office.

Program Theory
Suggested program activities and mentor training and support are based on Tuckman’s (1965) model of group development, which includes the following stages: 1) forming (group members are coming together and getting to know each other); 2) storming (members begin to share ideas about goals and processes; this stage may be characterized by interpersonal conflicts about the group’s goals); 3) norming (group is developing shared values about how team members will work together); 4) performing (group members are working together well); and 5) adjourning (team has met all/most of its goals and is focused on wrapping up final tasks). In addition, the expectation that both mentor and peer relationships will positively affect internal and external resilience factors, as well as academic and behavior outcomes, is consistent with the theory of positive youth development (Benson et al. 2006).

Evaluation Outcomes

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Kuperminc and colleagues (2018) found statistically significant differences between students who participated in Project Arrive and comparison group students in measures of school support, peer caring relationships, problem solving, and home meaningful participation. However, they also found no statistically significant differences in measures of juvenile offenses, home support, and self-awareness. Chan and colleagues (2019) found a statistically significant difference between students who participated in Project Arrive and comparison group students in credits earned, but no statistically significant differences in measures of instructional time and GPA. Overall, the preponderance of evidence suggests that program did not have the intended effects on participants.

Study 1
Juvenile Offenses
Kuperminc and colleagues (2018) found no statistically significant differences in risk of juvenile offenses by the end of 10th grade between students in the Project Arrive program and comparison groups, after adjusting for pretest scores.

School Support
Program participants reported higher mean scores for school support at program exit, compared with students in the comparison group, after adjusting for pretest scores. This difference was statistically significant.

Peer Caring Relationships
Program participants reported higher mean scores for peer caring relationships at program exit, compared with students in the comparison group, after adjusting for pretest scores. This difference was statistically significant.

Home Support
There were no statistically significant differences in home support scores at program exit between students in the program and comparison groups, after adjusting for pretest scores.

Problem Solving
Program participants reported higher mean scores for home meaningful participation at program exit, compared with students in the comparison group, after adjusting for pretest scores. This difference was statistically significant.

Home Meaningful Participation
Program participants reported higher mean scores for problem solving at program exit, compared with those in the comparison group, after adjusting for pretest scores. This difference was statistically significant.

Self-Awareness
There were no statistically significant differences in self-awareness scores at program exit between students in the program and comparison groups, after adjusting for pretest scores.

Study 2
Instructional Time
Chan and colleagues (2019) found no statistically significant differences between students who participated in Project Arrive and comparison students in instructional time received by the end of 10th grade.

Credit Earned
Students who participated in Project Arrive earned more credits by the end of 10th grade than comparison students. This difference was statistically significant.

Grade Point Average
There were no statistically significant differences between students who participated in Project Arrive and comparison students in average GPAs by the end of 10th grade.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Kuperminc, Chan, and Hale (2018) investigated the effects of Project Arrive on internal and external risk factors for juvenile justice system involvement in a quasi-experimental study of ninth-grade Project Arrive participants and a demographically similar comparison group. Eligible students were identified using an Early Warning Indicators (EWI) system as being at risk for dropping out of school based on a history of academic failure (GPA less than 2.0) and truancy (receipt of less than 87.5 percent instructional time) during eighth grade. The sample consisted of 114 ninth-grade students attending one of four high schools that were taking part in Project Arrive. The comparison group consisted of 71 EWI-identified students attending one of three high schools in the district that did not offer Project Arrive. Participating schools served predominately low-income Hispanic/Latino or African American students. Participating students were between 12.8 and 15.9 years old (median age was 14.0 years), and 53 percent were male. Of this group, 61.6 percent were Hispanic, 15.1 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, 10.3 percent were African American, 4.3 percent were white, and 8.6 percent were of mixed race.

Study participants completed online, pre- and posttest surveys in the fall and spring semesters of ninth grade (start and end of the program). Surveys assessed students’ perceptions of two internal and four external resilience assets from the Resilience Youth Development Module (Hanson and Kim 2007). The two internal assets were 1) problem solving (students’ problem-solving techniques), and 2) self-awareness (students’ awareness of purpose in life, their moods, feelings, and behavior). The four external assets were 1) school support (extent to which participants felt they had a supportive teacher or other adult at school), 2) peer caring relationships (extent to which participants felt they had a caring relationship with someone who helped them during hard times), 3) home support (extent to which participants felt there was a parent or adult who cared about them), and 4) home meaningful participation (extent to which students felt they helped make decisions in their families and did things at home that made a difference). All items were rated on a 4-point scale from not at all true (1) to very much true (4). Aggregate data on rates of juvenile offending and re-offending in the program and comparison groups were collected from the local juvenile probation department for the grades 8 through 10.

Statistical analyses were conducted, using propensity scores and inverse probability of treatment weighting to adjust for selection bias. A partially clustered model was used to adjust for clustering within the program participants but not for the comparison group. Analysis of juvenile justice system contact data was limited to a comparison of rates for the two groups and yielded relative risk ratios. No subgroup analysis was conducted.

Study 2
Chan and colleagues (2019) examined the effects of participating in Project Arrive in a quasi-experimental study looking at academic outcomes among two cohorts of ninth-grade students (2014–2015; 2015–2016) in an urban school district in California. Study participants were 1,219 students who were identified as at high risk of dropping out of school through an EWI system (defined as having a GPA below 2.0 and attendance rate below 87.5 percent) during eighth grade. Of this group, there were 239 students who attended high schools offering Project Arrive and who chose to participate, and there were 980 comparison students who either chose not to participate or attended high schools that did not offer Project Arrive. Students who chose to participate did not differ from nonparticipants in age, sex, eighth-grade attendance, GPA, or credits earned. However, students from schools that offered Project Arrive had significantly lower eighth-grade GPAs, compared with students in schools that did not offer Project Arrive.

Student data on GPA, credits earned, and instructional time were provided by the school district for grades 8 through 10 for both program participants and comparison students. Students received academic credit for a class when their grade in that class was a D or better. Credits earned were calculated by summing the total number of credits during the fall and spring semesters. Instructional time was calculated as a ratio of the number of attendance days to the number of days of enrollment. GPAs for the fall and spring semesters were averaged.

Propensity scores were calculated using demographic characteristics, characteristics of the schools attended, and eighth- grade academic records. Inverse probability of treatment weighting was used to reduce the effects of nonrandom assignment to program and comparison groups. Partially clustered analyses, which adjust for the clustering of participants in intervention but not in comparison groups, were used to assess differences in outcomes between program and comparison groups. No subgroup analysis was conducted.
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Implementation Information

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A full-time program coordinator provides 4 hours of preprogram training and monthly match and logistical support to mentors. The initial training consists of basic program information, expectations and responsibilities of mentors, tips for co-facilitation, and an overview of the group development stages. In addition to monthly logistical and match support from the program coordinator, mentors receive a program manual with information on program procedures and curriculum and have access to a website with activities corresponding to the stages of group formation (forming, storming, norming, and performing) and information that addresses common adolescent issues (e.g., identity formation, conflict resolution, study skills). Additional implementation information is available at http://sites.gsu.edu/project-arrive/
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Other Information (Including Subgroup Findings)

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Kuperminc and colleagues (2018) assessed perceived quality of relationships with mentors and experience in mentoring groups among Project Arrive participants using mid-year and end-of-year surveys, and mentors reported on their perception of group functioning at the end of the year. Regression analysis accounted for clustering in groups and adjusted for pretest measures of resilience assets. Quality of the relationship with mentors was associated positively with two of the seven external resilience assets (school support and peer support) but none of the four internal resilience assets at the end of ninth grade. However, positive perceptions of group climate were associated positively with three of the seven external resilience assets (school support, school meaningful participation, and home meaningful participation) and two of the four internal resilience assets (self-efficacy and self-awareness). Furthermore, quality of relationship with mentors was associated positively with 10th-grade GPA and credits earned but not with instructional time. Group climate was associated positively with 10th-grade GPA, but not with instructional time or credits earned.

Chan and colleagues (2019) used t tests to examine the associations of program dosage, group size, and mentor use of academic check-ins with academic outcomes in 10th grade (i.e., GPA, credits earned, and instructional time) for Project Arrive participants. Mentoring groups with full group attendance for at least half of the sessions were defined as high dosage, mentoring groups with seven or more mentees were defined as large, and groups that used academic check-ins at least 50 percent of the time were defined as high utilization. Students in mentoring groups with high utilization of academic check-ins had higher GPAs and more credits earned by 10th grade than those in groups with low utilization, but not greater instructional time. Additionally, students in groups with high-versus-low attendance and stude
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Kuperminc, Gabriel P., Wing Yi Chan, and Katherine Erickson Hale. 2018. Group Mentoring for Resilience: Increasing Positive Development and Reducing Involvement in the Juvenile Justice System. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/grants/252131.pdf

Study 2
Chan, Wing Yi, Gabriel P. Kuperminc, Scot Seitz, Christyl Wilson, and Nadim Khatib. 2019. “School-Based Group Mentoring and Academic Outcomes in Vulnerable High-School Students.” Manuscript submitted to Youth & Society.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Benson, Peter L., Peter Scales, Stephen Hamilton, and Arturo Sesma. 2006. “Positive Youth Development: Theory, Research, and Applications.” In R.M. Lerner (ed.). Handbook of Child Psychology: Theoretical Models of Human Development. Volume 1. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley & Sons, 894–941.

Hanson, T.L., and J.O. Kim. 2007. “Measuring Resilience and Youth Development: The Psychometric Properties of the Healthy Kids Survey.” Issues & Answers. REL 2007-No. 34. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory West.
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/west/pdf/REL_2007034.pdf

Kuperminc, Gabriel P., Wing Yi Chan, Katherine E. Hale, Hannah L. Joseph, and Claudia A. Delbasso. 2019. “The Role of School-Based Group Mentoring in Promoting Resilience Among Vulnerable High School Students.” American Journal of Community Psychology 65(1–2):136–48. (This study was reviewed but did not meet CrimeSolutions.gov criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)

Project Arrive. 2019. Operations Manual.
http://sites.gsu.edu/project-arrive/

Tuckman, B.W. 1965. “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups.” Psychological Bulletin 63(6):384–99.
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Mentoring
This practice provides at-risk youth with positive and consistent adult or older peer contact to promote healthy development and functioning by reducing risk factors. The practice is rated Effective in reducing delinquency outcomes; and Promising in reducing the use of alcohol and drugs; improving school attendance, grades, academic achievement test scores, social skills and peer relationships.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Drugs & Substance Abuse - Multiple substances
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Education - Multiple education outcomes
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Mental Health & Behavioral Health - Psychological functioning
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Program Snapshot

Age: 13 - 14

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Mentoring

Current Program Status: Active