This page contains answers to questions about the National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS), including specific instructions for issues you might encounter while completing the assessment.
The NQMS is structured, systematic process that uses an online tool to help mentoring organizations extensively assess program management, operations, and evaluation methods based the best practice guidelines outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™.
The goal of the NQMS is to better understand programs’ current strengths and help them identify areas for improvement in order to enhance future program practice and youth outcomes.
Based on the latest mentoring policies, practices, experiences, and research, the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ (EEPM) serve as the gold standard for mentoring best practices. The guidelines were developed and published by MENTOR Independence Region’s national organization, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, with the support of leading experts and researchers in the field, state mentoring partnerships, practitioners, and federal funders.
There is no monetary cost to mentoring programs working with MENTOR IR.
- NQMS creates a roadmap for higher quality services to kids, yielding positive youth outcomes
- Youth involved in quality mentoring relationships tend to do better in school, reduce risky behaviors, build stronger relationships with adults and become contributing members of society
- Stakeholders, including parents & funders can identify which mentoring programs are committed to improving their program’s practices
- ” NQMS can show increases in quality in the field of mentoring over time
Participating in NQMS gives programs access to an extensive collection of resources that corresponded to specific best practices, as well as individualized training, technical assistance, and evaluation of their assessments.
Completion of the NQMS also gives your program the chance to:
- Validate commitment to program quality
- Show results of assessment in funding applications
- Pinpoint areas for improvement as well as highlight strengths
- Develop an Improvement & Innovation Plan to guide organizational planning
Most importantly, the NQMS checks whether best practices are in place to ensure that youth and volunteers have the best possible mentoring experience.
Programs complete the NQMS every three years so MENTOR IR can track your program’s progress, recognize your achievements, and accurately portray any program changes. This provides a great opportunity for programs to engage in the continuous learning philosophy that is central the NQMS process.
Currently, the NQMS is available to programs within our service area that have been in existence for at least one year and serves youth ages 18 and younger. All programs must first register in the Mentoring Connector. Programs should also have an interest in developing quality practices in their work and staff that have the capacity to complete the program assessment, participate in the review process, and implement the Innovation and Improvement Plan.
The NQMS assessment is built around a program model that pairs volunteers with youth. However, we may be able to work with programs that provide mentoring using a variety of strategies. Please contact us to assess whether you are a good fit for NQMS.
- Go to Mentoring Connector
- Click the Add a New Program button below the login fields (do not enter your email address or a password)
- When the system asks “Do you already have Program Administrator login credentials?,” select “No”.
- Enter requested info on your mentoring program.
- Remember that what you enter in the Program Description and Mentor Description fields will be visible to anyone searching for programs through the system, so please use clear and informative language.
- Click “Submit” when finished.
The time it takes to complete the NQMS tool varies from program to program based on staff capacity and how accessible the needed information is. We suggest completing the NQMS within six to eight weeks after you receive access.
You will need a computer with high-speed Internet access, your program manual or operational guide, and time. Before beginning the assessment, you need to be registered on the Mentoring Connector. Register here.
The person or people who have the most knowledge about your program processes, policies and history are best positioned to lead the self assessment process. Many programs have found it useful to involve multiple staff members in the assessment process. Some programs have even involved other stakeholders, such as board members.
Only MENTOR Independence Region staff and select MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership evaluation and administrative staff will have access to your results, which will remain confidential. On occasion, MENTOR Independence Region will report on aggregate finding based on all programs who have completed the NQMS. Your programs results will never be identified individually.
MENTOR Independence Region is notified of your NQMS submission. One of our staff will send an email letting you know that we have received your NQMS and will be scheduling a NQMS review meeting.
MENTOR Independence Region staff will review your NQMS responses then contact you to schedule an onsite review. During this review, we will discuss your current mentoring practices and work together to develop an Improvement and Innovation Plan for the next 12 months.
The Improvement and Innovation Plan (I&I Plan) is designed to summarize the onsite review and provide feedback about the strengths and areas for improvement in three key program areas; management, operations, and evaluation. This document will detail 3-5 priority areas for your program to focus on in the next 6-24 months.
Within two weeks of submitting your NQMS assessment, MENTOR Independence Region staff will contact you to schedule a meeting to review your responses. The onsite visits are usually scheduled for between 4-6 weeks after the NQMS is submitted, depending on the alignment of the mentoring program and MENTOR Independence Region staff schedules.
The site visit usually lasts about 2-3 hours.
Anyone who played a significant role in completing the NQMS self-assessment should be present at the onsite review. You may also want to include anyone who plays a key role in program leadership, development, or evaluation. You will get a detailed written summary of the visit, called an Innovation and Improvement Plan, to share with anyone not present who may play a role in implementing changes going forward.
At the site visit, we will ask some general questions about your program history and then we will walk through the NQMS section by section and ask clarifying questions to get a better understanding of your program.
Come ready to discuss your responses to the NQMS program management, operations, and evaluation questions. Please bring any additional materials you think would be helpful for the reviewers such as program brochures, program planning documents, or participant forms.
Within two weeks of the site visit, we will provide you with an NQMS summary; an Innovation and Improvement Plan detailing both the strengths and areas of growth for the program, as well as 3-5 priorities to work on over the next 6-24 months; a Statement of Accuracy; and a list of benefits and recognition for becoming a partner. The Statement of Accuracy is a document to be signed by a key leader at your organization to create organization wide awareness of the programs participation in NQMS, to verify that we have the most updated information from your program, and to ensure that you will have leadership support as you begin to implement your Improvement and Innovation Plan.
In addition, we will follow up with any resources that we talked about during the visit. A MENTOR Independence Region staff member will check in at the 3, 6, and 9 month mark via e-mail or phone to offer any additional assistance and support that is needed. After 12 months, MENTOR Independence Region staff will set up a mini-review of the NQMS to make any necessary changes and update your Innovation and Improvement Plan. Additional time will be granted if necessary to complete the I&I Plan. The MENTOR Independence Region is available at any time to offer assistance and resources. We encourage you to contact us at any time with questions or to make changes to your NQMS.
During the site review, MENTOR Independence Region staff will go over your NQMS results with you and help you develop a 6-24 month Improvement & Innovation Plan. At this point, program leadership will be asked to sign a Statement of Accuracy and your program will become one of MENTOR Minnesota’s Dedicated or Expert Partners, granting your program access to exclusive benefits. The length of this process varies depending on your our NQMS reviewers’ schedules and capacity.
We are here to support your program at any time. Please don’t hesitate to contact a staff member at MENTOR Independence Region if you are looking for resources, need support in a specific program area, or simply want to bounce an idea off of another person in the mentoring field. We would also love to hear from you if you are experiencing any significant program changes or in any transition that may impact your program’s sustainability. We are here to support you in whatever ways are most helpful to your program!
Please contact our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 484-482-1416.