Teacher Poll

National Survey Shows Mentoring More Important Than Ever for Student Success

In a new national survey of 1,418 teachers by education nonprofit Gradient Learning released Monday, an overwhelming majority of teachers said one-on-one mentoring for students is vital for student success.

The Gradient Learning survey, conducted in partnership with Project Tomorrow, queried teachers in grades 4–12, with 85% being classroom teachers and 11% special education teachers. The respondents were from rural, urban, and suburban schools.

“Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter,” according to nonprofit organization Mentor. “Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations.”

Find a Mentoring Program

Adults wishing to join a mentoring program can visit the Mentoring Connector website to browse a list of mentoring opportunities near their location or virtual opportunities with students across the country.

Educators and parents wanting to find mentors for their students can do so on the National Mentoring Resource Center’s Find a Mentor website.

As educators and school leaders seek new ways to keep students engaged and supported in and out of the classroom, mentoring has emerged as an affordable solution. According to Mentor, students who have a mentor are 55% less likely to skip school and 78% more likely to volunteer in their community.

According to the National Mentoring Resource Center, “regardless of the structure, staffing, and goals of the program, mentoring programs in schools have shown to be a cost-efficient way of increasing the positive relationships students have in their lives,” while also boosting factors leading to educational success.

A recent Speak Up survey by Project Tomorrow found that two-thirds of parents with school-aged children are concerned about their child’s emotional well-being as a result of COVID-driven disruptions, thus pushing student social and emotional well-being as a top priority for educators, families, and caregivers.

“We have found as educators that the relationships must come first, and kids are not going to learn if we don’t have an established relationship with them,” said Heather Brown, assistant principal at Royal Spring Middle School in Georgetown, Kentucky. “Kids want to be here if they have a meaningful relationship with somebody. It improves student learning and it’s a way for teachers to get to know their students … we need it now more than ever.”

Other key findings of the survey:

  • 88% of teachers said one-on-one mentoring provides value to their students
  • 82% said mentoring time with their students results in positive changes in academic performancea
  • 83% shared that mentoring is helping students learn to succeed on their own

Gradient Learning, funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, supports nearly 80,000 students and 4,000 educators in 400 schools across the United States with free resources for equitable learning such as its Summit Learning program and the Along digital reflection platform.

Take Action with Information

Educators and parents can use the Gradient Learning poll information to make an impact in a number of ways:

  • Share the survey insights with your community

  • Incorporate the survey findings into your school’s vision for maximizing student success

  • Begin a discussion with local educators, parents, and leaders who help shape education in your area

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].