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Program Description

Overview The Mt. Olivet After-School Program (MOASP) was a church-based program that provided academic peer-mediated instruction for African American boys who were academically and socially at risk for school failure in Columbus, Ohio. Its three guiding principles were excellence in education, strong Christian values, and knowledge about African American history.
Start Date 1997–2000 through Mt. Olivet Baptist Church; 2000–2003 through a local Boys & Girls club
Scope local
Type after school
Location urban
Setting religious institution
Participants elementary school students
Number of Sites/Grantees 1
Number Served 18 in 1998–1999
Components The Mt. Olivet Baptist Church Men’s Fellowship, also called the Men of the Manna, developed MOASP in collaboration with the Columbus Public Schools and Ohio State University’s (OSU) College of Education. Participants were identified by their public school teachers and school principal as having both learning and behavior problems. The boys were required to attend school during the day in order to participate in MOASP.

The program was staffed by Men of the Manna volunteers, OSU preservice teachers (who participated as part of a field experience requirement), and special educators (faculty and students from OSU’s learning disability certification program, who had university coursework in peer tutoring, behavior management, and precision teaching). Staff were trained in behavior management techniques and specialized instructional strategies (e.g., peer tutoring, repeated readings, group management strategies).

MOASP offered services to participants 5 days a week and included three primary components: academic development, unity circle, and Friday recreation.

The 90-minute academic development period involved reading and math instruction, homework completion, reading for recreation, and table games (e.g., checkers, word games, chess). It included three interventions designed to improve participants’ reading and math skills: Direct Instruction (DI) Corrective Reading (Engelmann, Hanner, & Johnson, 1989), peer tutor training (Miller, Barbetta, & Heron, 1994), and repeated reading (Samuels, 1979).

DI Corrective Reading was designed to improve the reading of students with large reading deficits. Each session generally included a teacher-directed lesson, using choral responding during phonic and sight-word instruction; an oral reading segment in which participants took turns reading two to three sentences out loud; and a peer-tutoring component, in which one participant read orally while another recorded reading errors (e.g., omission, substitution, repetition).

The peer tutor training program, completed after the reading program, was intended to improve participants’ skills in solving multiplication problems. Participants’ progress was assessed through timed math tests. The peer tutoring during both the reading and tutor training interventions was reciprocal, meaning that the tutor and tutee switched roles during each session.

Repeated reading, held during the last 3 months of the program, involved one-on-one sessions with an adult, in which participants practiced oral reading and math fluency followed by timed oral reading tests and math fact sheets.

At the conclusion of the academic development period, the Men of the Manna held a group meeting called the unity circle, during which relevant social skills and/or African American history were taught.

Each participant earned one star for each day’s academic development period and unity circle time, Monday through Thursday. Participants needed at least six stars to participate in the Friday recreation activities at a local Boys & Girls Club, which had swimming, table games, basketball, video games, billiards, volleyball, etcetera. To earn a star during the academic development period, participants had to successfully complete homework and assignments, remain “on task,” follow directions, and speak respectfully to others. Striking others or cursing meant an automatic loss of a star. Participants earned a star during unity circle if they listened attentively, showed respect for those who were talking, and contributed verbally to the discussion. The class also earned a group reward (e.g., juice) during the academic development period if they remained on task. Participants were instructed in on-task behavior, and then role-played on-task behaviors and how to appropriately correct their peers’ off-task behaviors.

Englemann, S., Hanner, S., & Johnson, G. (1989). Corrective reading. Columbus, OH: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.

Miller, A. D., Barbetta, P. M., & Heron, T. E. (1994). START tutoring: Designing, training, implementing, adapting, and evaluating tutoring programs for school and home settings. In R. Gardner, D. M. Sainato, J. O. Cooper, T. E. Heron, W. L. Heward, J. Eshlman, & T. A. Grossi (Eds.). Behavior analysis in education: Focus on measurably superior instruction (pp. 265–282). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Samuels, S. J. (1979). The method of repeated readings. The Reading Teacher, 32, 403–408.
Funding Level $3,000 annually
Funding Sources Men of the Manna (individual contributions), the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, and SRA-McGraw-Hill (a division of McGraw-Hill Education, a pre-K through 12 educational publisher)


Overview OSU and Mt. Olivet Baptist Church conducted an evaluation to assess MOASP’s effectiveness and participant outcomes. The program was transferred to a Boys & Girls club (from 2000–2003) where similar yearly evaluations were completed. (These evaluations are not included in the profile.)
Evaluator Ralph Gardner, III, Gwendolyn Cartledge, Barbara Seidl, and M. Lynn Woolsey, Ohio State University, College of Education

Guy S. Schley, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church

Cheryl A. Utley, University of Kansas
Evaluations Profiled Mt. Olivet After-School Program: Peer-Mediated Interventions for At-Risk Students
Evaluations Planned None
Report Availability Gardner, R., Cartledge, G., Seidl, B., Woolsey, M. L., Schley, G. S., & Utley, C. A. (2001). Mt. Olivet After-School Program: Peer-mediated interventions for at-risk students. Remedial and Special Education, 22, 22–33.


Evaluation Ralph Gardner, III, Ph.D.
Special Education Program
The Ohio State University
356 Arps Hall
1945 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43210
Tel: 614-292-3308
Program Ralph Gardner, III, Ph.D.
Special Education Program
The Ohio State University
356 Arps Hall
1945 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43210
Tel: 614-292-3308
Profile Updated June 21, 2005

Evaluation: Mt. Olivet After-School Program: Peer-Mediated Interventions for At-Risk Students

Evaluation Description

Evaluation Purpose To assess program effectiveness and participant outcomes.
Evaluation Design Quasi-Experimental: Data were collected at the beginning of the program (pretest) and at the end of the program year (posttest) on boys who participated in MOASP during the 1998–1999 school year and who attended the local public elementary school. Three boys from a private parochial school housed in the church also participated in the program, but data were not collected on these boys. Fifteen African American males were identified during the course of the year to participate, but five of these boys either participated sporadically, dropped out, or were prevented from attending due to their failure to keep up with participation requirements. Thus, data were collected on a total of 10 boys who regularly attended. All participants were 1 or more years behind grade level in reading or math, were experiencing social behavior problems with a history of in-school suspensions due to disciplinary problems, and came from low-income families. One of the boys was clinically diagnosed with a serious emotional disturbance, and another with developmental disabilities. The boys ranged from approximately 9 to 12 years old in October 1998, with a grade range spanning third to fifth grade.
Data Collection Methods Test/Assessments: Participants were assessed on multiplication at pretest and posttest through a 2-minute timed test administered over 2 days, with 108 multiplication problems each day. To determine the percentage of accuracy for each participant, the number of correct responses was divided by the total number of responses (correct and incorrect) then multiplied by 100. Fluency rates were determined by counting the number of correct responses. Each digit counted separately as a response (e.g., a correct response of “25” would count as two correct responses) to provide as precise as possible information on the participants’ performance.

First-year OSU doctoral students assessed each participant’s reading skills via the Slosson Oral Reading Test (SORT; Slosson, 1990) at pretest and posttest. Results are presented as grade level equivalents, which indicate the school year grade and month for which a given score is the actual or estimated average.

Slosson, R. L. (1990). Slosson Oral Reading Test. New York: Slosson Educational Publications.
Data Collection Timeframe Data were collected in October 1998 (pretest) and May 1999 (posttest).

Summative/Outcome Findings

Academic All participants improved their accuracy on the multiplication assessment. The group’s mean accuracy gain was 52.5 percentage points (pretest mean = 26.3, posttest mean = 78.8), ranging from an accuracy gain for each participant of 6.4 to 83.4 percentage points. At posttest, accuracy ranged from 6.4% to 100%, with four participants achieving 100% accuracy, three more above 90%, and two below 50%, compared to accuracy at pretest, which ranged from 0% to 51.8%, with all but two participants below 30% accuracy.

All participants except for one improved their fluency rates on the multiplication assessment. On average, participants showed a gain of 36.7 correct answers per minute from pretest (mean = 12.8) to posttest (mean = 49.5), with individual gains ranging from 5 to 72 more correct answers per minute at posttest.

Each of the 10 participants improved his reading score on the SORT. The pretest mean score was 2.0 grade levels with a range from 0.5 to 3.5. The posttest mean score was 3.5, with a range from 2.2 to 6.1. The gain scores ranged from 7 months to 3 years and 2 months, with an average gain of 1 year and 5 months.

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Published by Harvard Family Research Project