Home | About Us | Site Map

Counseling & Support

Evidence-based Strategies - Examples, Research and Tools


Strategy c:  Promote a support network within the program where staff, volunteers, or peer mentors make personal connections with specific students on a regular basis.


Classroom Success = Retention or is it Retention = Classroom Success?
Marie Paiz
In this Texas program, when students from a local teacher education program began serving as “personal trainers” in the GED class, both attendance and persistence skyrocketed.

Pay Off: New River Finds Success with Retention
Jenny Bolte
This program’s analysis of their GED data led them to create a new position of Retention Specialist whose responsibility is to help GED non-completers resume their studies and develop a study plan. The program created a flexible GED-on-Demand testing schedule and began offering it in varied locations and times to accommodate students.  They also began to offer multiple learning options, ranging from more intense hours of instruction to computer lab. They subsequently experienced a 47% increase in GED completions.

Peer Mentors, in “Making It Worth the Stay: Findings from the New England Learner Persistence Project”
Andy Nash and Silja Kallenbach
Aiming to ease the transition of new students into an established math class, this program carefully recruited, trained, and supported peer mentors and the new students they would work with.

Peer Tutors/Mentors: Effect on Motivation and Persistence in the GED Classroom
Kathleen A. Guglielmi and Gayle Dzekevich
When this RI program trained a recent GED graduate to be a peer tutor/mentor to students, the results included an increase in GED completions, improved student persistence, and the professional growth of the tutor, whose employer noticed and recognized great change.

Providing On-going Support
Maria Kefallinou
This ABEL Journal article describes the multiple ways that staff at Quinsigamond Community College built and sustained supportive relationships with and among students to help them persist.

Role of GED Counselors in Student Retention
Elaine Callahan
The Henrico County Adult Education Center in Virginia attributes its 49% increase in student retention to its counseling component, which includes frequent check-ins with students.

Transition to College Monthly Mentor Evenings
Gylean Trabucchi
Project RIRAL holds mandatory monthly mentor evenings for its college transition students. Sessions include guest speakers (program graduates, college staff) and skill-building activities, and offer students the opportunity to partner with a mentor in college.

We are the Three Musketeers
Hyacinth Bewry
This student author presents an account of her struggle to finish a Certified Nursing Assistant program and the fellow students who helped her through.

Wrap Around Services
Janie Mendoza
This brief describes the Capital IDEA program’s approach to comprehensive support services, including child care, transportation, and career counseling. Counselors meet weekly with the class and with individuals, coaching them in college readiness and career awareness. Completion rates range from 75-100%.


Boosting Retention by Ensuring the Tutor/Student Match
Cathy Roth
This article compares the results of two interventions designed to improve retention in a volunteer program by intensifying staff follow-up of either the tutor or the student immediately after the match. Both strategies improved the retention of tutors, but only the on-going follow-up with students to discuss how the sessions were going improved learner retention.

CLC Mentoring Project
Cambridge Learning Center
Following up on prior action research on re-engaging stopped out students, the CLC investigated the potential of using volunteer tutors to mentor GED and adult diploma students. Their findings showed that well-supported mentoring improved attendance, persistence, and graduation rates.


Good Mentor Practices
Cambridge Learning Center
A list of “good practice” developed to guide volunteer mentors in their communication with adult students.

Mentor Dos and Don’ts
Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experience (SCALE)
For their investigation into using peer mentors to support new students, SCALE developed this set of mentoring guidelines about how to maintain successful peer mentor relationships (referenced in “Making It Worth the Stay,” pp. 77-78).

Mentoring Resources
National College Transition Network
Although selected for their usefulness for college transitions, many of the resources on this site are relevant and offer helpful guidance on mentoring in general.