NQMS Frequently Asked Questions
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 Colorado’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 in Colorado.
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
Many mentors say they benefit from the mentoring relationships as much as the youth
Mentoring gives our young people hope for their future!
Participating in the quality assessment gives your program 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 program quality
- Show results in funding applications
- Pinpoint areas for improvement
- 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 Colorado 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. You will be notified two months before your three year mark and will be able to access your NQMS at that time. MENTOR Colorado staff will set up an onsite review so we can take time to celebrate all you have accomplished and make a new Innovation and Improvement Plan detailing how you can continue improving program quality.
Currently, the NQMS is available upon request to all Colorado youth mentoring programs that are registered on the Mentoring Connector.
The time it takes to complete the NQMS varies from program to program based on staff capacity, and how accessible the needed information is to those completing the assessment. A good estimate for completing the assessment is approximately 8 hours of time, and we suggest completing the assessment within six to eight weeks of receiving access to the tool. MENTOR Colorado staff will work with programs to create a reasonable timeline for completing the process.
We find that programs that have been actively matching and working with mentors and mentees for at least one year are usually ready to start the NQMS. 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.
Only MENTOR Colorado 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 Colorado will report on aggregate finding based on all programs who have completed the NQMS. Your programs results will never be identified individually.
MENTOR Colorado 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 (I&I 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 or action items for your program to focus on in the next 6-12 months.
We will do our best to accommodate the program’s funding and reporting deadlines so please talk to one of our staff about your needs.
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. We will celebrate program strengths and identify areas you would like to innovate or improve.
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 a draft Innovation and Improvement Plan detailing both the strengths and areas of growth for the program, as well as 3-4 priorities to work on over the next 6 months; a Statement of Accuracy; and a list of benefits and recognition for becoming a Quality 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 Colorado 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 Colorado staff will set up a a time to make any necessary changes and update your Innovation and Improvement Plan. The MENTOR Colorado staff 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. NQMS organizations are encouraged to apply for technical assistance to complete the goals identified in your I and I plan.
Programs complete the NQMS tool every three years so MENTOR Colorado can accurately portray program changes, track progress, and recognize your program’s achievements. This also provides an opportunity for programs to engage in the continuous learning philosophy that is central the NQMS process. You will be notified two months before your three year mark and will be able to access your NQMS at that time. MENTOR Colorado staff will set up a site review and take time to celebrate all you have done and make a new Innovation and Improvement Plan detailing where you want the program to go next.
We are here to support your program at any time. Please don’t hesitate to contact a staff member at MENTOR Colorado 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!