CCE Theses and Dissertations


An Exploratory Qualitative Study for the Design and Implementation of an Educational mentoring Program For At-Risk Students

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Computer Education


Center for Computer-Based Learning


John Kingsburry


This exploratory qualitative study arose from the need to provide computer exposure to at-risk junior high students being tutored in a business-school partnership with a high-tech company, and to help both the tutors and students develop deeper personal relationships during the tutoring.

The study's objective was to determine if the use of a mentoring model, or parts of such a model derived from studies in business, is an effective strategy to provide both computer and relationship skill-building experiences. A black male and Hispanic female student, members of an interschool club designed to provide academic enrichment in math and science, were paired with two white male computer engineers from Digital Equipment Corporation. These relationship teams met both informally and in formal mentoring sessions for a period of ten to twelve weeks, during which various strategies from the proposed mentoring model were investigated and analyzed. An organizational development model was used to determine the problems and build the proposed mentor model before the mentoring began.

Case study methodology was used to collect and analyze the data, most of which was generated from a series of observations and interviews conducted by the writer. The study examined the following mentoring-related areas: general requirements for establishing mentoring, prementoring educational intervention, mentoring functions, mentoring phases, gender and ethnic areas in mentoring, mentoring and the at-risk student, mentoring and self-esteem, and mentoring's worth as a strategy. The male student-mentor team successfully established a close personal relationship and completed a computer-related project, and the student's self-esteem showed improvement on a standard inventory. The female student-mentor team was unsuccessful in either area, though her self-esteem appeared unaffected. As a result of the study, a revised mentor model was developed and is included in the study's appendices. The project confirms that hi-tech mentoring could be a useful strategy in education and is worthy of future study.

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