Evaluating SAT and College-based, High School Mentorship Program from Fall 2019 to Fall 2021

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2022-04-14

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Standardized testing is an integral part of college admissions and is one of the major determinants of educational access in the United States. Higher SAT scores are linked to a higher college GPA and scholarship qualifications, but there exist financial and social barriers against higher education for low-income, minority populations. To address these disparities, undergraduate students from the University of Houston Honors College created Aspire, a student-led mentorship program educating high school juniors and seniors on SAT and college readiness. During analysis, it was determined that the COVID-19 pandemic student registration, attendance, and retention rates significantly dropped compared to pre-pandemic numbers. Registration numbers between Spring 2020 compared to Fall 2021 halved from 69 students to 36 students. Although SAT score differences between pre-program and post-program students increased by roughly 56 points, these numbers are smaller than previous literature values. Before COVID-19, student attendance percentages ranged from 51% to 70%, while post-COVID-19 lockdowns, student attendance rates ranged from 39% to 44%. Less than 10 students participated virtually during the COVID-19 lockdown. Thus, COVID-19 significantly decreased program outreach and mentorship quality. Structural program changes relating to mentee retention rates, advertising, and improving mentor training are necessary to facilitate a more effective program.

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