Journal of Educational Research and Practice


Middle school students in Nova Scotia, Canada, are perceived to have low self-efficacy for achieving learning outcomes. While strong self-efficacy beliefs, developed through effective curricula, have been linked to improved academic performance, there is a need for formal evaluation of such curricula. The purpose of this study was to investigate a 10-week afterschool mentorship curriculum that has never been evaluated. The aim of the curriculum is to strengthen self-efficacy beliefs via relationship building exercises, public speaking training, and character education. Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy, which states that treatment influences can alter the strength of self-efficacy, informed the conceptual framework. Evaluation questions explored apparent changes in the self-efficacy of the students from the perspective of seven adult caregivers and the program’s instructor. Interview data were triangulated with quantitative descriptive statistics on the self-efficacy scores of 10 middle school students before and after program participation using the Children’s Hope Scale. Comparison of pre- and posttest scores did not show remarkable differences in self-efficacy beliefs of the students. However, analysis of interview data revealed that children’s self-efficacy beliefs grew, the largest increase being in those described as reserved at the beginning of the program. This study promotes positive social change through an increased understanding that can inform efforts to increase self-efficacy in middle school students.