Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Bradley H Smith


The development of effective and feasible interventions that are deliverable within schools are badly needed in order to address high levels of unmet academic and social/emotional need in children and adolescents. In order to address these needs, two interventions were developed, delivered, and tested in this study. One was an eight-session School-based Mentoring (SBM) program based on evidence-based academic enabling activities. The other was a one-session report card coaching program based on Motivational Interviewing (MI). Previous studies of these SBM and MI interventions found mostly small or statistically non-significant effects on academic performance. The current study tests the hypothesis that effect sizes may be increased by providing SBM and MI simultaneously, producing an additive or synergistic effect. To address this possibility, a study of the separate and joint effects of the SBM and MI interventions was conducted such that 195 middle school students recruited over two school years were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: SBM only, MI only, SBM plus MI, and a waitlist control group. To implement the SBM intervention, 95 undergraduate students from a southeastern university provided up to seven 45 minute long mentoring sessions. To implement the MI intervention, seven graduate students and three research assistants trained to be "report card coaches" provided one 45 minute long MI session. Specific hypotheses were that MI plus SBM would be superior to waitlist control, and that MI plus SMB combination would be enhanced compared to MI or SBM alone. Results from this study indicate a significant effect for math grades for the MI plus SBM group d = .28 but null results for other grades and self-report measures of self-efficacy, life-satisfaction, and school engagement when examining both years of this study combined. However, when examining years separately, in year one there is a slightly higher effect, yet not significant difference, for math grades SBM+MI d = .38, SBM d = .36, and MI only d = .34, each of these differences were statistically significant from the waitlist control and replicate results from the two previous evaluations of these interventions.

Included in

Psychology Commons