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Intervention Summary

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Child Advancement Project (CAP)

The Child Advancement Project (CAP) is a school-based mentoring program that matches community volunteers with students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Each volunteer mentor works one-on-one with his or her student mentee for 1 hour each week throughout the school year to increase the student's academic and social competency and to provide opportunities for academic challenge; these efforts are intended to complement the efforts of the student's teachers and family. Mentors provide students with support and encouragement, help them discover and build on their individual strengths, and affirm students' ability to shape their own futures. At the primary school level, the mentor and student typically engage in activities such as playing a board game, reading a book, and working on homework or school projects. At the secondary school level, mentors and students typically complete school work, visit educational Web sites pertaining to the school subjects that interest the student, work on brain teasers and puzzles, and discuss the student's options after high school. Mentoring sessions are conducted on school grounds, during school hours over the course of the school year.

Students are nominated for participation in CAP by their teachers, parents, or other school staff, or they can nominate themselves. A student can be nominated for any of the following reasons: the student is in need of additional academic, social, and/or emotional support; the student is struggling with a stressful family situation; the student is not currently receiving other special services from the school district; and/or the student would benefit from additional academic enrichment or challenge. To help prevent stigmatization, CAP is open to any student, regardless of his or her academic or socioeconomic situation. Upon entering the program, the student is matched with a mentor on the basis of the student's needs and interests as well as the mentor's strengths and interests.

No special qualifications are needed to become a mentor, but new mentors must pass a screening process and attend two trainings, which are facilitated by an on-site program coordinator. The program coordinator also provides guidance and resources to mentors throughout the program. Program coordinators are required to have a bachelor's degree in social services or education and must attend implementation training.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: August 2012
1: Unexcused school absences
2: Discipline referrals
3: Social connectedness
Outcome Categories Education
Social functioning
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Geographic Locations Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History In 1989, Thrive (a community-based organization) collaborated with Bozeman Public Schools to develop and pilot CAP in two elementary schools in Bozeman, Montana, matching 35 students with mentors. In the 2011-12 school year, CAP was implemented in all 10 Bozeman Public Schools, and 557 students in kindergarten through 12th grade were matched with mentors. At the start of the 2012-13 school year, CAP was introduced in the Big Sky School District. Since 1989, more than 8,000 students have participated in the program.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal
Selective

Quality of Research
Review Date: August 2012

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Gordon, J., Downey, J., & Bangert, A. (2011). Comprehensive evaluation report on the Child Advancement Project (CAP): A school-based mentoring program--Evaluation report for school years 2009-2011. Unpublished manuscript.

Supplementary Materials

Karcher, M. J. (2001, August). Measuring connectedness across the adolescent's social ecology: Five validation studies. Poster presented at the 109th American Psychological Association Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Unexcused school absences
Description of Measures Unexcused school absences for each of 2 school years (2009-10 and 2010-11) were abstracted from school district records for 7th- through 10th-grade students. (Records for 6th-grade students were not available for comparison.)
Key Findings Data from 7th- through 10th-grade students who participated in CAP (intervention group) were compared with data from a matched sample of students who did not participate in CAP (control group). Over each of 2 school years, students in the intervention group had fewer unexcused absences than students in the control group (2009-10, p < .001; 2010-11, p < .002). These differences were associated with medium effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.79 and 0.60, respectively).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Discipline referrals
Description of Measures Discipline referrals for each of 2 school years (2009-10 and 2010-11) were abstracted from school district records for 7th- through 10th-grade students. (Records for 6th-grade students were not available for comparison.)
Key Findings Data from 7th- through 10th-grade students who participated in CAP (intervention group) were compared with data from a matched sample of students who did not participate in CAP (control group). Over each of 2 school years, students in the intervention group had fewer discipline referrals than students in the control group (2009-10, p < .004; 2010-11, p < .041). These differences were associated with large effect sizes (Cohen's d = 1.43 and 1.84, respectively).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Social connectedness
Description of Measures Social connectedness was assessed using the Hemingway: Measure of Adolescent Connectedness Survey (adolescent version 5.5, grades 6-12) (MAC). The MAC is a 40-item self-report survey that measures respondents' degree of caring for and involvement in specific relationships, contexts, and activities across 10 subscales: connectedness to neighborhood, connectedness to friends, connectedness to parents, connectedness to siblings, connectedness to school, connectedness to peers, connectedness to teachers, connectedness to reading, self-in-the-present, and self-in-the-future. Using a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all true) to 5 (very true), students rated each item. Assessments were conducted in November 2010 (pretest) and June 2011 (posttest).
Key Findings Data from 6th- through 10th-grade students who participated in CAP (intervention group) were compared with data from a matched sample of students who did not participate in CAP (control group). Findings at posttest included the following:

  • Sixth-grade students in the intervention group had a more positive perception of self-in-the-future than sixth-grade students in the control group (p = .019). This difference was associated with a small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.21).
  • Among sixth-grade students who were participating in CAP for the first time, those in the intervention group had a more positive perception of self-in-the-present than those in the control group (p = .047). This difference was associated with a large effect size (Cohen's d = 1.15).
  • Tenth-grade students in the intervention group had a greater connectedness to reading than 10th-grade students in the control group (p = .001). This difference was associated with a very small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.05).
  • Among 10th-grade students who were participating in CAP for the first time, those in the intervention group had a greater connectedness to reading than those in the control group (p = .021). This difference was associated with a very small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.11).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.5 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
51.8% Male
46.8% Female
100% Race/ethnicity unspecified

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Unexcused school absences 2.0 2.8 2.0 1.5 1.5 2.8 2.1
2: Discipline referrals 2.0 2.8 2.0 1.5 1.5 2.8 2.1
3: Social connectedness 3.3 3.8 2.0 1.5 2.0 2.8 2.5

Study Strengths

The rates of unexcused school absences and discipline referrals were drawn from official school district records. The MAC subscales have good reliability and validity. Measures were used to enhance and assess the fidelity of program implementation.

Study Weaknesses

Although data from school district records were used, no steps were taken to verify the accuracy of the records for unexcused school absences and discipline referrals. Although fidelity measures were used, no information was reported regarding their effectiveness. Attrition was moderately high in three of the five grade levels. No data or analytical findings were reported to compare those who dropped out of the study and those who remained. The study design and analytical procedures did not include steps to control for potential confounding factors. Participants' pre- and posttest measures were not matched, which introduced a potential bias.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: August 2012

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

CAP brochures

CAP evaluation materials

  • CAP mentor evaluation
  • CAP student evaluation forms
  • Parent evaluation
  • Teacher evaluation of student
  • Teacher evaluation of the project
  • Workshop evaluation form

CAP process guide materials

  • Mentee nomination criteria
  • Mentee nomination form
  • Mentor contract
  • Mentor interview
  • Mentor reference check
  • Mentor release form
  • Parent information
  • Recruitment materials
  • Screening materials
  • Timeline

Materials for supervision of mentors

  • Goal sheets
  • Match list
  • Quarterly reports

New mentor school packets

Program Web site, http://www.allthrive.org/programs/child-advancement-project-cap/

Thrive. (2012). CAP program policy manual. Bozeman, MT: Author.

Thrive. (n.d.). Nuts and bolts: CAP and Bozeman School District policies [PowerPoint slides]. Bozeman, MT: Author.

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
2.8 2.8 2.3 2.6

Dissemination Strengths

The program policy manual and process guide materials clearly describe program policies, timelines, recruitment, and screening of mentors. They also provide clear guidelines on how volunteer mentors should interact with student mentees. The program Web site provides many resources that parents of students in the program can use with their families at home. The program design includes a program coordinator, who supports the mentoring process. Mentors are required to attend two trainings facilitated by the local program coordinator. Pre- and postimplementation assessments for teachers, mentors, students, and parents are available. Evaluation forms are included for teachers' use in assessing the program and for mentors' use in assessing the training. The developer provides support for interpreting and using data from the program evaluation forms.

Dissemination Weaknesses

Written preimplementation guidance for new sites, including staffing requirements, is limited. The training materials do not describe how program coordinators are trained in the model. Although technical assistance is available, the content of this support is unclear. Several forms are provided for use in evaluating mentors; however, there is little guidance on the use of these forms, and discussion is limited on how the collected data can be used for program improvement. It is not clear how the program coordinators are monitored to ensure program fidelity.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
CAP Program Policy Manual Free Yes
CAP Process Guide Free Yes
2-day, on-site implementation training for program coordinators $2,500 for up to 10 participants, plus travel expenses for 2 trainers Yes (one implementation training option is required)
2-day, off-site implementation training for program coordinators at the Thrive facility in Bozeman, MT $2,500 for up to 10 participants Yes (one implementation training option is required)
1-day, on-site visit $1,000 plus travel expenses Yes
Phone-based technical assistance Free for the first 10 hours; $100 per hour for all subsequent hours No
2 off-site postimplementation trainings (2 hours each) at the Thrive facility in Bozeman, MT $200 each for up to 10 participants Yes (one postimplementation training option is required)
2 postimplementation conference call trainings (2 hours each) $200 each Yes (one postimplementation training option is required)
Evaluation forms Free Yes
Phone- or email-based evaluation support Varies depending on site needs No
Site implementation assessment Free Yes
Site fidelity assessment Free Yes
Replications

No replications were identified by the developer.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Sarah Stiff
(406) 585-7929
sarah.stiff@bsd7.org

To learn more about research, contact:
Janet Gordon, Ph.D.
(406) 585-7929
cap@allthrive.org

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