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Improving Equity in Education through Youth Mentoring: An Evaluation of a Randomized Intervention in Colombia
Initial registration date
September 26, 2019
September 27, 2019 1:20 PM EDT
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University of Konstanz
Other Primary Investigator(s)
University of Nottingham
University of Konstanz
Universidad de los Andes
University of Konstanz
Universidad del Rosario
Texas Policy Lab at Rice University
Additional Trial Information
The Colombian school system is divided into private and public schools, with the latter showing a significantly worse performance in terms of high-school exit exams and university enrolment. Moreover, the school system has been criticized for an unequal distribution of resources, disadvantaging public schools. These imbalances have far-reaching consequences for educational equity, as students in public schools tend to come from a lower socioeconomic background. In addition to differences in school quality, these children are also less likely to have parents who completed higher education. Their social networks thus often lack role models that could inspire and help them escape poverty through educational success, good choices with respect to tertiary education or help with getting a foot in the door of the formal sector, for example through a job or internship referral. To help overcome these obstacles to social mobility and educational equity, we have developed and piloted a mentoring program for disadvantaged youths in Bogota in 2018, called Más allá de 11 (beyond 11th grade). This intervention changes the participating high-school student's social network by adding a young adult with a different socio-economic background: a university student who takes over the role as a mentor. The aim is thereby not to provide educational tutoring but to establish a relationship of trust and offer support in broadening their perspectives and aspirations, setting goals for their life beyond high school, and defining necessary steps to achieve those goals. For this purpose, mentors and mentees meet regularly on a one-to-one basis for 8-10 months during a crucial phase of the mentee's life: the year before the centralized achievement test that all Colombian high-school students take at the end of grade 11, the Saber 11 test. The goal of the registered study is to thoroughly evaluate the program's effects on the Saber 11 test scores and other outcomes.
Amador, Diego et al. 2019. "Improving Equity in Education through Youth Mentoring: An Evaluation of a Randomized Intervention in Colombia." AEA RCT Registry. September 27.
Más allá de 11 aims at building bridges between high-school students from disadvantaged backgrounds and university students, thereby introducing a potential role model from a different socio-economic background into the high-school students’ social network. As high-school students enrolled in the program are in their final year, this is the ideal moment to support them in developing and pursuing their educational and vocational goals. The crucial characteristic of the intervention is that it is based on one-to-one mentoring. The lack of individual support within the educational system disproportionally disadvantages children from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Introducing a mentor aims to tackle this imbalance by building an individual relationship of trust and offering the individual support to deal with the important imminent choices when finishing high school.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Saber 11 test scores
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We use an oversubscription approach for the potential mentees. Half of the students who show interest in participating in the program are randomized into the treatment and the other half into the control groups. Randomization is stratified by school and gender. The main analyses will be comparisons of these two groups.
Experimental Design Details
We conduct the randomization as a (non public) lottery.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
>250 individuals each in the control and treatment group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
<=1/4 sd of the student achievement test scores
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB of Universidad de los Andes
IRB Approval Date