Dear FIRST Team Leader,
After months of planning, Brandeis University and FIRST are launching a new, multi-year impact study of student participants in the FIRST® LEGO® League, FIRST® Tech Challenge, and FIRST® Robotics competition programs in the United States. Working with FIRST teams and team leaders across the country, the study will follow approximately 1000 FIRST team members and a similar number of comparison students for up to five years. The goal of the study is to assess the impact of FIRST on young people’s interests in science and technology, their life and workplace skills, and their educational and career goals.
Brandeis and FIRST are seeking interested teams and team leaders to participate in the study. Team leaders in the study will be asked to do the following during the first year of the study:
- Participate in an initial training webinar on the study’s procedures.
- Distribute and collect a packet of study materials (surveys, permission forms, etc.) to new student participants in FIRST who are joining your team for the 2012-13 season, following up as needed to promote a high response rate among new team members.
- Help recruit comparison students by distributing recruitment packets in at least one science or math class per grade in the school or organization where your team is located.
- Administer a second, Spring 2013 survey to the members of your team who are in the study.
- Participate in interviews or focus groups on the team experience.
- Complete a team leader survey in Spring 2013.
In subsequent years, study participants will be contacted directly by Brandeis for an annual Spring survey. In those years, team leaders may be asked to help update contact information and/or encourage participants who are still on the team to complete the annual surveys.
Team leaders who participate in the study will receive a stipend of $200 in the first year of the study as a “Thank you” for their time and effort. More importantly, team leaders will be helping FIRST achieve its long-time goal of conducting a major impact study of its programs.
If you are interested in having your team participate in the study, please go to https://brandeis.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0cEGrs1EgZybC4Y to provide your contact information and to answer a few qualifying questions. Teams to be included in the study will be selected from among those who respond, with the goal of providing a nationally representative sample of teams in the study.
We hope that you will take the time to consider this invitation and join this important effort. Even if your team is not selected for the final sample, we will keep you informed about the study and look for ways to solicit your input as the study moves forward.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email Alan Melchior and Cathy Burack, the Brandeis Project Directors at FIRSTstudy@brandeis.edu.
Jon Dudas, President