Answer to "How to evaluate your mentoring programme?" 


Topic Editor: Erik Driessen

Many quality improvement studies show that a crucial factor in designing successful interventions is to look inside the black box of the intervention, in other words process evaluation (Hulscher et al. 2003). A program evaluation is an important tool to gain insight in the quality assurance of the mentoring program, and the experiences of the participants.  A program evaluation is a cyclic process consisting of (i) defining and measuring quality, (ii) judging the quality against predefined standards and come to an analysis of strengths and weaknesses, and (iii) make improvements (Stalmeijer et al. 2010). For the measurement phase (i), a choice can be made to use a questionnaire to get a general impression on the current educational quality, or to use more diagnostic instruments, such as open-ended questions and/or focus-groups that generate rich narrative information, to enable improvement. It is advised to use a theoretical framework for instrument development (Bowden & Marton, 2000). For mentoring, this could be frameworks such as self-regulated learning. In terms of the judgement of quality (ii), the data and narrative comments can be compared to previous years or other mentoring programs in the institute (if present). Program evaluation reports (or extracts) are usually send to management, those involved in the coordination, the mentors, student representatives, and the Faculty administration. For the analysis (ii) and improvement (iii), it is important that there is a management group or (mentor) coordinator that can oversee and implement changes.




Bowden J, Marton F (2000). Quality and qualities, in: Bowden J, Marton F (Ed), The university of Learning, Kogan Page, London, UK.

Hulscher M, Laurant, M, Grol R (2003). Process evaluation on quality improvement interventions. Qual Saf Health Care, 12:40–46

Stalmeijer R, Dolmans D, van Berkel H, Wolfhagen I (2010). Quality assurance (Ch17), in: van Berkel H, Scherpbier A, Hillen H ,van de Vleuten C (Ed), Lessons form problem-based learning, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.