Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Numbers Game

One of our goals for 2009-2010 at Cabrini Connections is to do a better job of quantifying our work. We tell stories on our web site and blogs, but we also want to produce tangible measures of success. Two of the best ways we can do that are with feedback and grades.

In Spring 2009, Cabrini Connections asked mentors, teachers, and parents to report strengths and weaknesses observed in his or her mentee, student, or child. Of 59 respondents, 33 are mentors, 20 are teachers, and 6 are parents or guardians. They were asked to measure 21 different fields in three goals areas - confidence, competence, and caring - from 1 (very weak) to 7 (very strong). I have created a 3-page report to summarize the results. Click on an image below to expand it to a pdf.

Though we are very proud of the results (every field has a mean of greater than 4), it is important to acknowledge inadequacies. As you look at this data, please consider our methodology and vision, summarized on page 3.

As for grades, students receive 25 points for every report card that they bring in; plus 25 for every A, 15 for every B, and 5 for every C. It is one of the many ways a student can earn points in our program (attendance, bringing academic work, completing SVHATS, etc.) and, when he or she graduates, points get converted to dollars (1 point = $0.10) and are used to start an account at Bank of America. In addition to the incentive of points, report cards are also valuable to mentors. Students are encouraged to share report cards with their mentors in an effort to track progress and target challenging subject areas.

Former NUPIP Fellow Chris Warren and new volunteer Michael Schubmehl are working on a grades report for 2008-2009. Like survey data, grades are an easy way to track progress and, as years go by, we expect trends to support our Theory of Change. Thanks for your support and please stay tuned as we embark on these important projects.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for pulling this report together. This is something we started in November 09 as we gathered sample surveys from others in the mentoring field. We tailored the survey to our own program, then launched it in early April. It took a while for this many responses to come in, then to convert the data to this report.

    We've been doing a similar info collection process with student grades and hope to have a report available for review sometime this fall. Almost all of the work is being done by volunteers.

    Now we need donors to look at this so they will help us continue the program for the next decade, so we can help more kids through school, and accumulate year-to-year data to demonstrate our impact.