Motivational interviewing with at-risk youth (MARS) mentoring program: a targeted behavioral intervention for students in alternative settings
The purpose this study was to examine the treatment effects of a research-based intervention for students in alternative education: The Motivational Interviewing with At-Risk Students (MARS) Mentoring Program. Specifically, treatment effects were expected to in social, emotional, behavioral, and academic performances. MARS Mentoring is a unique program founded in self efficacy strategies, specifically Motivational Interviewing paired with behavioral modification practices. The 10-week intervention was delivered school-wide to 48 students (grades K-12). Two behavioral alternative schools also participated in data collection, serving as non-intervention schools for comparison. Outcome measures included school disciplinary actions for students (out of school suspension, office discipline referrals, and minor classroom referrals), academic performance (Math and English grade means), student self-efficacy, and targeted protective factors for students in alternative settings (using the Alternative Education Tier-3 Assessment). Two sets of analyses are presented. First, unmanipulated data from one school receiving intervention and two non-intervention schools were evaluated using simple means comparisons. In addition, to control for potential sample bias, propensity score matching methods were employed using a nearest neighbor matching algorithm. Students receiving the MARS intervention demonstrated significant improvements in social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes by establishing consistent improvements across all data analytic methods. Preliminary results indicated significant academic improvements for students enrolled in MARS Mentoring, however the model did not support significance after propensity score matching. Further implication for practice and direction for future research based on the findings are discussed.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.