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Tremendous growth in the youth mentoring field has resulted in an ever-expanding number of programs that provide choice, flexibility, and increased opportunities for young people who need mentors. However, the sheer number and variety of programs and approaches make it difficult for prospective mentors, parents, mentees, funders, and policymakers to know what constitutes a safe and effective mentoring program. The National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS) creates recognized standards and procedures for the operation of high quality mentoring programs based on evidence and a process for continuous improvement within a program.

Mentoring works best when steps are taken to ensure program practices meet quality standards that are safe and effective. The National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS) provides a structured, systematic process for assessing the quality of a mentoring program’s practices in alignment with the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, Fourth Edition (EEPM). This approach allows for the establishment of consistent quality standards among mentoring programs across the country. The NQMS provides a meaningful indicator of quality for youth mentoring programs and lend credibility to individual programs to attract resources and support. It also helps families and volunteers feel confident about participating in a mentoring program that meets national quality standards.


The NQMS online tool is built within MENTOR’s Mentoring Connector and contains a 92 question self-assessment that is aligned to the Fourth Edition of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™. During the self-assessment, programs indicate whether each item is “in practice” or “out of practice,” and rate their current practice to identify areas of strength and improvement.

Completing the NQMS self-assessment is the new application process for becoming a Mentor Kansas Gold Star program. More information about the implementation of the Mentor Kansas Gold Star program will be coming in January 2019.


  • Access to an easy-to-use, in-depth self-assessment tool that will support the assessment of your program’s practices, operations, and management to identify strengths and areas for improvement and innovation

  • Customized training, technical assistance and support, based on your assessment, to support you in making quality improvements that support your program’s alignment with evidence-based practice for mentoring

  • Stronger connection with resources available through Mentor Kansas


  1. Register your program on the Mentoring Connector
  2. Complete the 92 question NQMS self-assessment (plan for two to three hours)
  3. Submit the completed NQMS self-assessment for review by Mentor Kansas
  4. Participate in a review meeting with Mentor Kansas to discuss the self-assessment results
  5. Develop a customized Innovation and Improvement Plan with Mentor Kansas to address specific needs
  6. Receive recognition with an NQMS designation badge ("Initiated" or "Progressing")
  7. Continue to engage with the online tool and Mentor Kansas as improvements are made and goals are reached to progress through badges and the Innovation and Improvement Plan
  8. Receive Kansas Gold Star badge when Innovation and Improvement Plan is complete
  9. Continue to work with Mentor Kansas to uphold quality mentoring standards to prepare for recertification every three years