2010 FRC Statistics
2010 Student Survey – Greater Toronto Regional
All students participating in the 2010 Greater Toronto Regional were invited to participate in a survey respecting their perceptions of their FIRST experience. The survey was conducted on an anonymous basis. A draw for a prize (a fuel-cell car kit) was conducted as an incentive to participate. We asked eight agree / disagree questions and three open-ended questions. We received responses from 140 students, from 43 different schools. We believe that this represents approximately 10% of all attending students. We regard this as a very satisfactory response rate.
|Question||Strongly Disagree||Disagree||Agree||Strongly Agree|
|Participating in FIRST is challenging||1%||7%||61%||31%|
|Participating in FIRST has broadened my skills||0%||0%||0%||100%|
|Participating in FIRST has given me a better idea of what I want to study or do after leaing school||1%||11%||46%||42%|
|I plan to study and/or look for a career in a field involving technology, science or mathematics||2%||5%||31%||62%|
|Participating in FIRST has helped me make that decision||1%||20%||50%||29%|
|Participating in FIRST has improved my self confidence||4%||14%||57%||25%|
|Participating in FIRST has improved my ability to work as part of a team||1%||4%||49%||46%|
|Participating in FIRST has helped me do better in school||5%||39%||43%||13%|
A survey summary handout page is available here.
1. What aspect of FIRST has had the greatest impact on you?
The aspect mentioned most frequently by far (50 students) was that of teamwork, including: learning to work in groups, learning to respect and trust other members of the team; learning how to lead, and the experience of solving problems collectively under time pressure. Other responses mentioned frequently included: the experience of building a working robot; working with mentors; meeting like-minded friends and working with them; learning to open up to others; moving from theory to practice, e.g. seeing something you had designed do what it was supposed to do; learning how to manage time, stick to deadlines and prioritize; and gracious professionalism.
2. Can you give us an example of how your FIRST experience has had an impact on you?
In their responses, students overwhelmingly reported a range of newly acquired skills. In many cases said their FIRST experience was pivotal to their decision to pursue further studies or a career in a related field. Working in teams also had a profound impact. We received responses including the following:
- “FIRST has opened my eyes to engineering and showed me that this is a field of work where I can use my skills and enjoy my job in the process”
- “In class, before FIRST, I had difficulty to work in a team because I wanted to do everything. Now it is better.”
- “The whole experience was amazing and life changing”
- “It has also helped to improve my skills such as communication, social, critical thinking, problem solving, time management and a lot more”
- “The team aspect has had the greatest impact on me because it struck me hard when I saw how people could cooperate so well”
- “I learned that hard work does pay off”
- “When I was talking to sponsors and companies, it gave me more self-confidence and strengthened my communication skills”
- “It really shows you what’s out there, industry, further schooling etc”
- “Learning to respect my peers at school and on the team has greatly improved my people skills”
- “The experience of the build season…gives me a glimpse of the technical and communication skills needed in my future engineering career”
- “As a team we faced many challenges since this was our first time and being able to overcome these obstacles as a team has increased my confidence and my ability to cooperate with my peers”
- “Participating in FIRST has helped me do better in school because to stay in the project, I had to do well in school”
- “I have discovered how many solutions can be found for a problem, especially with a think-outside-the-box attitude”
3. What have you enjoyed least about your time in FIRST?
Overall, approximately half of all students responded that the program was great and there was nothing they wished to change; or they declined to list anything negative; or they used the space only to make a further positive comment; or they complained of something that can in context be interpreted as a backhanded compliment (e.g. why is the competition only three days long; can’t the individual games be longer; can’t we fit in more games; I dislike the time I have to spend waiting for the game to begin, etc.). Excluding issues mentioned by two participants or less, students responded as follows:
|Concern||# of Mentions|
|Don’t change a thing; it’s great the way it is||36|
|No answer given to this question||24|
|Not enough time / stress generally||16|
|The build period should be longer||10|
|Some teams are too dominant||8|
|The competition fell on Easter weekend||8|
|Start times are too early / too much loss of sleep||4|
|Too much time spent waiting for matches to start||4|
|Pit areas too small||3|
|Inspection rules are too strict||3|
Overall, FIRST Robotics Canada believes that the results of the survey point strongly to the positive effect this program is having on participating students. Anyone interested in reading more about the impact of the FIRST experience is encouraged to read the results of research conducted by Brandeis University available here.