This year, I conducted research about the impact that the WhyTry Program had on two 4th grade classes in the Southeastern region of the United States. I would like to share my experience with you, along with some information that I hope will be helpful if you are also conducting research on WhyTry. This turned out to be a very interesting, educational, as well as a frustrating process!
In my research project, I utilized pretest and posttest information from one class. Furthermore, I collected data regarding the students’ English, Math, and attendance in two classes. I conducted an analysis in which I compared the students’ data while they were in WhyTry to the grading quarter after they finished WhyTry. In the end, the results of my study were not significant, however this could be due to a multitude of reasons- the data was collected over a very short period of time, data was only collected from two classes in one school, the pretest/posttest was not validated, etc.
As a result of my experience with this research project, I have a few recommendations for those of you that plan on conducting Why Try research:
- When using secondary data, ensure that you have access to all data in your research design. While I thought I had this access, it was not until I began collecting my data that I realized this was not the case. This resulted in having to make tremendous changes to my research design.
- Ensure a large data set, especially when working with students, as parental consent greatly limits the final sample size of your study.
- Research on the WhyTry Program should be mixed method. My study only utilized quantitative data and would have been much more valuable with a qualitative aspect.
- Ensure that your assessments are validated materials, as it strengthens the significance of the results. It was not until after the pretest was distributed that I found out it was not the validated assessment offered by the WhyTry Program.
Although the results of my research were not significant, I see such significance in this program. In one of the schools where WhyTry was implemented, we did not see the same class for six consecutive weeks. Instead, sometimes weeks passed between the time we were able to see them. However, at the beginning of each class when we conducted a recap, we were always shocked to hear how much information these students retained! Furthermore, there were many times when students would come into the classroom with a frown on their faces and leave with smiles. Other students would come in with smiles because they were so happy to see us. Finally, there were times when we saw the students implementing the goals of WhyTry right there in our classroom. All of this evidence is proof of the impact this program has on the students we taught this year.
Thank you for reading this post- hope this information was beneficial! Good luck to any of you who are also conducting research on Why Try!
Marissa Emrich is a senior social work student, aspiring school counselor, fiancee, sister, friend, and daughter. To read more about research surrounding WhyTry, visit our website.