FIRST Newsletter - June, 2012 - News from FIRST Evaluation and Research
News from FIRST Evaluation and Research
Many of those involved in FIRST can testify that the program inspires young people, introduces them to the fun and excitement of science and technology, and builds self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. For those who have not personally participated in FIRST, there is new evidence of some of the reasons for the success of the program.
In the fall of 2011, FIRST staff conducted an evaluation of Alumni to better understand their experiences since leaving high school and the impact FIRST has had on their lives. The following are some highlights from this study:
- 4,666 Alumni responded to the survey. Alumni ranged in age from 17-22, 70% were male, and most graduated high school between 2009 and 2011.
- 90% of Alumni are currently in a STEM field as a student or professional.
- 86% of Alumni who are enrolled in their second year or later of college are working towards a degree in STEM. Majors include engineering (57%), computer science (10%) and the physical and life sciences (10%).
- The majority of college graduates received a bachelor’s degree (80%) or master’s degree (11%).
- 81% of Alumni college graduates indicate that they majored in STEM. Majors for this group include engineering (54%), physical and life science (10%), computer science (7%) and technology (7%).
- For employed Alumni, 88% indicate that they are in jobs working with math, science, engineering or technology.
- Comments from FIRST Alumni demonstrate some of the long lasting impacts of FIRST:
- FIRST was my single most important high school experience. I learned how to solve problems and work efficiently with many different types of people. The skills I learned have proven essential to working in a college research laboratory setting.
- FIRST really put into perspective what it means to work in a real-life setting…FIRST helped me shape up and learn to work within, not around, deadlines. That also helped me to grow as a person and take responsibility for my actions, rather than making excuses.
- FIRST gave me the experience to get my first internship in high school, my first research experience as a freshman in college, and the interpersonal skills to succeed in college.
- I really enjoyed FIRST and strongly believe it is the sole reason why I am attending a top notch private university for engineering. I am sure it was a strong factor in my acceptance to college.
For more information on this study, please contact Nancy Boyer at 603-666-3906 x 470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIRST Tech Challenge/FIRST Robotics Competition Cross Program Evaluation
A recent external evaluation of the FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition conducted by Brandeis University in 2011 provides more evidence of the positive impacts that FIRST is making on students. Some of the highlights of findings include:
Awareness of science and technology:
- More than 90% of participants in both programs report gaining a better understanding about how science and technology can be used to solve problems in the real world and that the subjects they learned in school have real-world applications.
- Over 86% have an increased interest in doing well in school.
- More than 79% gained a better idea of what they want to study in college.
- Over 84% are more interested in taking more challenging math and science courses.
- Greater than 87% have an increased interest in going to college.
STEM Related Careers:
- FTC and FRC participants also reported an increased interest in having a STEM-related career.
- Roughly 90% in both programs reported being more interested in a job or career that uses science or technology, and specifically more than 83% were interested in being a scientist or engineer.
21st Century Work-Life Skills
- More than 90% of participants in both programs reported gaining practical teamwork and interpersonal skills: working as a team on a project; solving disagreements between team members; accepting other people’s ideas and suggestions; getting along with students, co-workers, teachers and supervisors; working well with both males and females on a team; and working cooperatively with people that you do not know well.
- Over 90% of participants in both programs reported gaining practical planning and problem-solving skills: how to develop a plan; solve unexpected problems; manage their time; and use trial and error.