Research in Action

Research Design

The topic of my research topic is the relationship between long term mentorship programs and student academic success.  Currently many students can’t employ patient problem solving or work successfully within peer collaboration groups. Students are thrust into collaboration through mandatory course projects and/or presentations.  Other students are not encouraged and even prohibited from working in collaborative groups or collectives due to the fear of cheating.  Mentorship could be formed from within the group of peers and could be vital from a collective where agency is shared and built.

The purpose of my study is to determine if authentic continuous relationship building through mentorship contribute to student success.  There are no shortcuts to true excellence and the road to it will be work.  Through setbacks and failures mentorship plays a vital role in a learner’s ability to accept failure and learn from it then regroup and try again.  As the journey of the life occurs for the learner they might have to make sacrifices and put forth an enormous of effort.  There is no shortage of excuses to quit so having even one genuinely caring mentor can make all the difference.  Long term mentorship can be affective through the bond of one primary person along with several secondary, third and so on bonds over time.  Adaptability and agility skills needed for success in the new knowledge economy is an outcome of continuously staying in a growth mindset.  The idea of “yet” allows learners to take initiative becoming leaders and entrepreneurs that are okay with failing as they look to learn from their failures.


Fundamental research questions:

  1. What is the relationship between long term continuous mentorship support and student success?

  2. Does it play a significant role in the overall future success in their adult lives?


The most appropriate type of data for me to collect is both qualitative and quantitative because this mixed method will assist with supporting the emotional human data with statistical school data. The mixed method allows for those are persuaded by the numerical facts they can wrap their head around and/or the heart strings to better receive the information.  My research design can best be described as an explanatory mixed methods design.  The specific form of data I will collect are qualitative system numerical data of discipline, grades, attendance, graduation attainment and quantitative data from surveys focusing on core values such as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship from staff feedback as well as home or within the community from parent/guardian/mentor survey feedback.

The focus of my literature review is the maker mindset’s ability to extend throughout an entire school incorporating blending learning and the COVA approach to improve learners’ mindsets.  Within this maker school setting mentorship and relationship building can form naturally.  This authentic mentorship and relationship building lends itself to creating connections with students that impacts student academic success.  I am interested in finding the true value maker mindset combined with relationship building has on student success as well as lifelong achievement.

Using collectives in learning supports relationship building and lifelong learning skills.  Students have more agency and knowledge is not being forced upon them rather they are taking it.  Nearly unlimited resources can be tapped into throughout participation in a collective.  The individual student contributes to the collective by bringing their own individual authentic life experiences and knowledge.  They are motivated to learn and contribute to the learning of others in the collective.  The outcomes of participation in collectives are shown as students not only consume information but take agency in producing quality information to contribute.  This collaborative learning skill assists students in transitioning to study groups as they enroll in higher level courses in primary school and throughout college.  Team work in every career setting is vital and the use of collectives start to build the foundation for effective collaborators within their organizations.  In education the responsibility for learning is often disproportionately placed on the teacher.  The growth mindset is valuable to the students as well as the teacher.  Staying in the growth mindset can allow the teacher to become the facilitator of knowledge while the students develop into the agents of their own knowledge.  As learners are given authentic learning experiences and opportunities to use their imagination for innovation.  Learners are not only innovative problem solvers, but they think about possible problems that may arise and how to solve them.


“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, and feed him as long as the fish supply holds out.  But create a collective, and every man will learn how to feed himself for a lifetime”

(Thomas D. & Brown, J.S., (2011) A New Culture of Learning; pg. 53)



November A., (2012) Who Owns the Learning

Esquith R., (2007) Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire

Thomas D & Brown, J.S., (2011) A New Culture of Learning

Dweck C.S. Ph.D., (2016) Updated, Growth Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Mertler C.A., (2016) Action Research: Improving Schools and Empowering Educators; fifth edition

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