OCCRA
Go to Post There is no feeling greater than being a part of a group that would walk through fire with you. Complete commitment, complete trust, and total respect. - Rich Kressly [more]
Home
Go Back   Chief Delphi > CD-Media > White Papers
CD-Media   CD-Spy  
portal register members calendar search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read FAQ rules

photos

papers

everything



FRC Growth numbers

Jon Stratis

By: Jon Stratis
New: 06-15-2017 03:42 PM
Updated: 06-15-2017 03:42 PM
Total downloads: 239 times


A look at how FRC has grown geographically since 1992.

This is a collection of data series and graphs depicting team growth for FRC, broken up geographically. Each US State has its own graph, as does each district, parts of Canada and parts of Israel. The data is there to do break downs for any other country, state, or province that's desired, but this would quickly spiral out of control if I tried to do everything. Gotta know when to stop!

A description of the data sources:

All data used for these graphs was obtained through the TBA API. There are some interesting points to take into consideration for anyone looking to duplicate this effort:
- The State/Province field can contain EITHER the full name (ie Minnesota) OR the abbreviation (ie MN). This requires some work after pulling the data to merge the name and abbreviation datasets.
- There are a LOT of missing zip codes. It seems that only teams that have competed in the past couple of years have zip codes listed, otherwise that field is null. This limits how precise we can get looking at the data, unfortunately.
- There are some teams with a null value for their rookie year. This requires some extrapolation based on events teams were listed as competing in.

I don't fault TBA for these items, it's likely a result of receiving different amounts of data and different data formats from FIRST at different times (See the TBA blog for more info on that!). Still, it would be extremely helpful for those wishing to run analysis like this if the data could be standardized somewhere, and kept up to date each year

Attached Files

  • lsx FRC Growth

    FRC Growth.xlsx

    downloaddownload file

    uploaded: 06-15-2017 03:42 PM
    filetype: lsx
    filesize: 1.14MB
    downloads: 237



Recent Downloaders

  • Guest

Discussion

view entire thread

Reply

06-15-2017 03:45 PM

Jon Stratis


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

This little project grew out of a seemingly simple question from Andrew:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
Let me preface this with the statement of "I am not trying to pick a fight about this or start a debate.".

What impact do you believe reaching the effective limit of your regional space has had on growth over the years?

Noticing trends in MI prior to FIM District the growth appeared to be plateauing at a little over 1/2 regional capacity (I'm ball parking here) And MN seems to be plateauing a little higher (likely fewer double plays? I recall MI was fairly heavy on them during the 05-08 period)

I'm mostly asking this to see if Field of Dreams lied to me or if you build it they will come.


Another point I'd be curious to look at is if dense or sparse growth results in more sustainable teams. Have you done any investigation on that? You allude to rural schools being harder to maintain teams and it jives intuitively but I'm curious if you've done any digging into data.


But my final question - For the 40 teams that failed, does MN FIRST do any sort of exit interview to determine cause of failure? (IE, is "loss of rookie grants" a theory or was it a cited cause? What other causes have you found?) IMHO this is where HQ is really disappointing me, they should know why teams fail but, to my knowledge, they have no data collection here.
Over the past few years, I've seen a bunch of people (not just Andrew!) hold Michigan up as an example of "Districts = more teams", or as Andrew put it, "If you build it, they will come". So, time to stop picking on Andrew

I wanted to see how growth in all of the districts was happening, and have some actual numbers to back it up with instead of my general impression. So this spreadsheet was born. It gave me an excuse to get into the TBA API (the FRC Event API, unfortunately, doesn't have the full history available, as far as I know. Just the past couple of years).

Once that was done, it was just a bunch of Excel skills and formulas to datamine everything. What we ended up with are (if you don't want to download the spreadsheet or wait for the bazillion formulas to calculate) a bunch of graphs. The few I picked out to include below:

- All District growth. Thus far, Michigan seems like a real outlier. Some of the others have continued to grow at their pre-district rate, while others have plateaued or even shrunk a little. None of the other districts have seen the sort of explosive growth that Michigan has.

- An detailed view of MAR, as it's the second-oldest district, which should give us plenty of pre- and post-district conversion data

- Florida. There's a huge spike in 2011/2012, why?

- Minnesota. Because, well... How could I resist?


So, the data is here for people to look at and speculate on. Personally, my big question is... what drives growth in FRC? Going through the various graphs, you'll see some sudden growth spikes, and other places where growth dips negative. Is it from the creation of new events? The availability of new funding? A change in the competition itself (introduction of 3v3, districts, split champs, etc)?

My second question is... is there a natural plateau of FRC teams within a given area? If so, what is the driver behind that - competition availablity, demographics, local economy, something else? I doubt we'll ever get 100% penetration (major sports don't even have 100% penetration), but is there a percentage we should be aiming for?



06-15-2017 04:31 PM

Andrew Schreiber


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

FL was a huge spike in 2011/2012 due to JCP grants. I believe I've had a LOT of comments about the JCP grants on here and don't need to rehash why I believe large cash rookie grants are counterproductive to FRC goals in the long term.


I was more theorizing on the impact that "play slots" had on team growth. My gut feel would be to take this data as a function of "slots" in the state but that breaks horribly in regions like NE where a state is what would constitute a county in other regions (I'm looking at you Rhode Island). Any chance of adding a new line to each graph representing "number of plays in state". Downside, might require a second scale on the vertical axis though.

I never said a whole lot about growth because I'd run numbers and found growth was way too complicated to predict and had way more going into it than "if (districts) growth = 2*growth;" Plus, why do you think I asked it as a "seemingly simple question"? I KNEW it quickly grew into a project, wanted to data, and wanted to see who I could convince to do it for me

I'll have to take a bit to digest this info. Thanks.



06-15-2017 04:51 PM

Jon Stratis


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
FL was a huge spike in 2011/2012 due to JCP grants. I believe I've had a LOT of comments about the JCP grants on here and don't need to rehash why I believe large cash rookie grants are counterproductive to FRC goals in the long term.


I was more theorizing on the impact that "play slots" had on team growth. My gut feel would be to take this data as a function of "slots" in the state but that breaks horribly in regions like NE where a state is what would constitute a county in other regions (I'm looking at you Rhode Island). Any chance of adding a new line to each graph representing "number of plays in state". Downside, might require a second scale on the vertical axis though.

I never said a whole lot about growth because I'd run numbers and found growth was way too complicated to predict and had way more going into it than "if (districts) growth = 2*growth;" Plus, why do you think I asked it as a "seemingly simple question"? I KNEW it quickly grew into a project, wanted to data, and wanted to see who I could convince to do it for me

I'll have to take a bit to digest this info. Thanks.
There are a number of problems when considering number of plays available to teams. For example, until this past year, many (most?) Western Wisconsin teams considered the Minneapolis events their "home" event, as they were closer than the event in Milwaukee. You almost need to avoid splitting it up by state, and instead create a list of every team's closest event. That would let you look at the "local carrying capacity" of each event. That's probably realistic to do for a single year (the TBA API provides Latitude and Longitude for teams and events), but growing that out historically would be complicated. You also have to consider event capacity - I know some events that are still running under their total capacity, yet there's no way to pull that capacity number to get accurate results.

Besides, if its just a question of filling capacity at the events, then that would imply that adding an event anywhere would cause teams to pop up in that area. I think lack of plays could dampen the number of teams in an area, but the true limit of penetration is caused by other factors.



06-15-2017 05:48 PM

Deke


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

One of the big drivers of the FiM 2013-2014 spike:

https://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/s...d.php?t=118567

FiM is exploding due to the low cost structure and the grants available. People will play if they don't have to pay.



06-15-2017 07:09 PM

Andrew Schreiber


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
There are a number of problems when considering number of plays available to teams. For example, until this past year, many (most?) Western Wisconsin teams considered the Minneapolis events their "home" event, as they were closer than the event in Milwaukee. You almost need to avoid splitting it up by state, and instead create a list of every team's closest event. That would let you look at the "local carrying capacity" of each event. That's probably realistic to do for a single year (the TBA API provides Latitude and Longitude for teams and events), but growing that out historically would be complicated. You also have to consider event capacity - I know some events that are still running under their total capacity, yet there's no way to pull that capacity number to get accurate results.

Besides, if its just a question of filling capacity at the events, then that would imply that adding an event anywhere would cause teams to pop up in that area. I think lack of plays could dampen the number of teams in an area, but the true limit of penetration is caused by other factors.
Hey, I didn't say it was easy... I've done studies on team travel in the past and used POSTGIS + geolocation of events based on venue address. But the issue I keep running into is, what do I measure from. Like, sure I could say "give me events under 300 miles from the centroid of teams in this state" but is that a useful metric? Would it be better to cluster teams into events and see which regions are over capacity? I really don't know, geo stuff is hard.



06-15-2017 07:43 PM

n3rdchik


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Thanks so much! Now if you can do this for FTC.... (lol!)

The growth numbers are extremely helpful to our pitches!



06-15-2017 10:10 PM

cadandcookies


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
My second question is... is there a natural plateau of FRC teams within a given area? If so, what is the driver behind that - competition availablity, demographics, local economy, something else? I doubt we'll ever get 100% penetration (major sports don't even have 100% penetration), but is there a percentage we should be aiming for?
The following are general musings and not facts.

It would make sense that there would be a plateau-- one of the traditional methods of modelling population growth is with a logistic function, which has this characteristic. It also generally makes sense-- growth is limited by available resources. Resources being money, people, and experience. It would make sense that different areas hit different resource caps than others.

I might also hypothesize that "value" has something to do with team growth-- in particular, Michigan has probably one of the best "values"-- between state grants and districts, participating is monetarily cheap and you get more of it, compared to any regional area or even district areas that aren't subsidized. Or perhaps Michigan is so much of an outlier that trying to generalize from there doesn't make sense.

In any case the data is quite messy. I'd imagine that there isn't quite so much a dominating factor as a number of factors that may be more or less important in different areas.



06-15-2017 11:16 PM

Karthik


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Here are the overall retention numbers (active teams / all time teams) for each region based on the posted dataset.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

You see an overall retention rate in the US of 60%, with MN, MI, & WI, leading the way with the highest retention rates for regions with at least 50 teams.



06-16-2017 08:34 AM

Jon Stratis


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deke View Post
One of the big drivers of the FiM 2013-2014 spike:

https://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/s...d.php?t=118567

FiM is exploding due to the low cost structure and the grants available. People will play if they don't have to pay.
Correction, the cost structure is actually not low. The average cost per team in Michigan is actually higher than in regionals. The grants that are available there are what really drive the affordability of the program. Of course it's more affordable for the individual teams when you have the state government chipping in to help cover the costs!



06-16-2017 08:37 AM

Whatever


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

I kind of question using the metric of total teams to look at growth. I would prefer total plays. At some point it seems like the growth of an area comes from teams moving from attending one event to attending two events. Israel and Ontario didn't really add a lot of teams this year but I bet they added a lot of plays.



06-16-2017 08:55 AM

Jon Stratis


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatever View Post
I kind of question using the metric of total teams to look at growth. I would prefer total plays. At some point it seems like the growth of an area comes from teams moving from attending one event to attending two events. Israel and Ontario didn't really add a lot of teams this year but I bet they added a lot of plays.
Do additional plays for a team increase the number of people exposed to the program? Number of plays and program growth are two separate metrics that measure different things. Increasing growth increases exposure and inspires more people. Increasing plays affects the experience for the same number of people as before. Sure, there's an argument to be made as to the importance of both cases, but frankly the argument for number of plays is so exhausted on here it's not even funny any more. There hasn't been much discussion on program growth, though, other than the annual thread on registration numbers, which doesn't really look at long term trends for different geographic areas.



06-16-2017 09:14 AM

Akash Rastogi


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Jon, thanks for these metrics.

Just wondering - does MN conduct any survey regarding teams reporting their annual budgets and/or number of sponsors?

I'm wondering if there's an easy way to find out if the state grants and sponsors are nearing a saturation point if teams can self-report trends in their annual budgets or anything like that.

Any other states/districts try something like this? Can resource saturation be measured in other ways? Mostly in relation to areas of high team density?



06-16-2017 09:28 AM

cadandcookies


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
Just wondering - does MN conduct any survey regarding teams reporting their annual budgets and/or number of sponsors?
A rough number of sponsors may be found by breaking down the "Team Name" field. Obviously there are issues with this, but I think it might be the closest approximation we can get without an actual survey.

With regards to play count, I might agree that there are some issues with it as a metric, but I also think there's an argument that the overall quality of an area's FRC community and the experience of students and mentors on those teams is not directly coupled to how many teams there are in that area. I don't really have a good metric for that, but I think the right concept is there with play count if you accept the underlying assumption that more FIRST is a good thing for participants and teams.



06-16-2017 09:30 AM

Jon Stratis


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
Jon, thanks for these metrics.

Just wondering - does MN conduct any survey regarding teams reporting their annual budgets and/or number of sponsors?

I'm wondering if there's an easy way to find out if the state grants and sponsors are nearing a saturation point if teams can self-report trends in their annual budgets or anything like that.

Any other states/districts try something like this? Can resource saturation be measured in other ways? Mostly in relation to areas of high team density?
We do have an annual end of year survey, it closed earlier this week actually. Some of the questions we asked on it were centered on budget (total team budget, robot budget, travel budget, etc), but I don't think we asked about number of sponsors. We've only just started looking at the results, so I can't really say any more than that. One of the problems you have with these sorts of optional surveys is your response percent - how do you extrapolate to cover those that don't respond? Are some questions going to show inaccurate results because the demographics of those that responded are different from those that did not? How many responses do you need before you can say the results are accurate enough?

And since you mention "high team density"... I think that's not just a measure of teams per mile, but rather a measure of teams per population for a given area. Major cities can support a larger number of teams per mile than small rural towns.



06-16-2017 09:33 AM

Andrew Schreiber


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatever View Post
I kind of question using the metric of total teams to look at growth. I would prefer total plays. At some point it seems like the growth of an area comes from teams moving from attending one event to attending two events. Israel and Ontario didn't really add a lot of teams this year but I bet they added a lot of plays.
Total Team Count is a crap metric, as is total plays. Retention and sustainability, however, are likely linked into total plays in a very round about way. We've seen that more plays in a season is linked to more on field success (which way this relationship goes is an open question) and teams that are successful are, intuitively, less likely to fold. But this is all based on intuition rather than hard numbers. (See rant about how nobody collects data on why teams fail)



06-16-2017 09:45 AM

rsisk


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
Hey, I didn't say it was easy... I've done studies on team travel in the past and used POSTGIS + geolocation of events based on venue address. But the issue I keep running into is, what do I measure from. Like, sure I could say "give me events under 300 miles from the centroid of teams in this state" but is that a useful metric? Would it be better to cluster teams into events and see which regions are over capacity? I really don't know, geo stuff is hard.
How about total number of miles traveled in the region?



06-16-2017 09:46 AM

Richard Wallace


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karthik View Post
Here are the overall retention numbers (active teams / all time teams) for each region based on the posted dataset.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

You see an overall retention rate in the US of 60%, with MN, MI, & WI, leading the way with the highest retention rates for regions with at least 50 teams.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
Do additional plays for a team increase the number of people exposed to the program?
I think it does.

29% of Michigan high schools have FRC teams, compared with 16% in Minnesota and 11% in Wisconsin.

Michigan held 23 district competitions and a very large DCMP this season, providing opportunities for many new folks to get exposed and inspired.



06-16-2017 10:04 AM

Whatever


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

The metric I would really prefer is total number of kids.

When I look around MN, most teams I see going to one regional are 15 or less kids. Most teams going to 2 regionals are 20 or more kids. I know the survey the MN RPC put out this year had the questions to collect this data (at least in MN). My opinion is at some point it gets easier to add kids by growing the existing teams over forming new teams. MN has a pretty deep pool of teams that currently go to 1 regional.



06-16-2017 10:17 AM

n3rdchik


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

What is DCMP?



06-16-2017 10:19 AM

Richard Wallace


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdchik View Post
What is DCMP?
District Championship. Better know hereabouts as MSC or States.



06-16-2017 12:27 PM

lurker


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Wallace View Post
I think it does.

29% of Michigan high schools have FRC teams, compared with 16% in Minnesota and 11% in Wisconsin.
So was this article wrong in saying that "more than half of Michigan's high schools (both public and private) now have a FIRST team on campus"?



06-16-2017 12:35 PM

GKrotkov


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurker View Post
So was this article wrong in saying that "more than half of Michigan's high schools (both public and private) now have a FIRST team on campus"?
I suspect not. The article mentions that more than 50% of Michigan's high school have FIRST teams, while Richard's statistic specifies FRC teams.



06-16-2017 12:40 PM

Richard Wallace


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurker View Post
So was this article wrong in saying that "more than half of Michigan's high schools (both public and private) now have a FIRST team on campus"?
I'll wait for Jim Z. to clarify the statistics in that article, since he probably is the source.

My own are pretty simple: divide the number of (active) FRC teams in each state by the number of high schools. Those ratios misrepresent teams that comprise students from more than one school, community teams, and home-schooled teams.

My point was just that the higher ratio of teams to schools in Michigan suggests more opportunities for new folks to be exposed to FIRST and inspired.



06-16-2017 12:45 PM

lurker


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Wallace View Post
My point was just that the higher ratio of teams to schools in Michigan suggests more opportunities for new folks to be exposed to FIRST and inspired.
I agree, I was just curious about that stat.



06-16-2017 01:14 PM

Jon Stratis


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
Total Team Count is a crap metric, as is total plays. Retention and sustainability, however, are likely linked into total plays in a very round about way. We've seen that more plays in a season is linked to more on field success (which way this relationship goes is an open question) and teams that are successful are, intuitively, less likely to fold. But this is all based on intuition rather than hard numbers. (See rant about how nobody collects data on why teams fail)
The problem with that intuition are the actual retention numbers. As Karthik pointed out, 2 of the top 3 regions with the highest retention aren't in districts, thus the average team there likely gets fewer plays than those teams in districts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karthik View Post
Here are the overall retention numbers (active teams / all time teams) for each region based on the posted dataset.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

You see an overall retention rate in the US of 60%, with MN, MI, & WI, leading the way with the highest retention rates for regions with at least 50 teams.
There are just too many factors that go into team retention to be able to come up with a single solution to boost it. If we take Michigan, as an example, we can point to two big items - districts and grants. How have they impacted retention?

Code:
2000	2001	2002	2003	2004	2005	2006	2007	2008	2009	2010	2011	2012	2013	2014	2015	2016	2017
0.96	0.95	0.91	0.93	0.88	0.82	0.81	0.78	0.75	0.76	0.73	0.70	0.70	0.67	0.72	0.75	0.77	0.76
We start back in 2000, when they went over 50 teams. You see a steady decline in the retention percent for a long time. Districts were introduced in 2009 and there was a small bump that year - the retention numbers improved slightly that year (possibly due to the excitement of switching competition structures? Everyone wanted to try it out?). But after that, the decline continued. It wasn't until 2014, 5 years after starting districts, that the retention numbers started improving... and that was the same year the grants were introduced (see this link from earlier in the thread).

The other districts, for reference:
Code:
2000	2001	2002	2003	2004	2005	2006	2007	2008	2009	2010	2011	2012	2013	2014	2015	2016	2017
Chesapeake (2016)
1.00	0.98	0.88	0.90	0.82	0.81	0.79	0.74	0.69	0.68	0.68	0.66	0.63	0.61	0.60	0.58	0.58	0.54
Indiana (2015)
1.00	1.00	1.00	1.00	1.00	0.88	0.83	0.81	0.82	0.83	0.83	0.74	0.74	0.78	0.74	0.67	0.65	0.62
Mid-Atlantic (2012)
1.00	1.00	0.89	0.86	0.82	0.81	0.80	0.74	0.74	0.70	0.65	0.63	0.64	0.66	0.64	0.64	0.61	0.58
New England (2014)
0.96	0.92	0.92	0.85	0.85	0.83	0.74	0.82	0.77	0.73	0.71	0.69	0.66	0.66	0.65	0.65	0.64	0.65
North Carolina (2016)
1.00	1.00	0.86	0.75	0.78	0.70	0.60	0.64	0.71	0.65	0.73	0.80	0.73	0.71	0.68	0.68	0.66	0.67
Pacific Northwest (2014)
1.00	0.90	0.92	0.86	0.80	0.70	0.62	0.64	0.70	0.78	0.79	0.77	0.77	0.77	0.72	0.69	0.67	0.63
Peachtree (2016)
    	1.00	0.50	0.94	0.87	0.71	0.61	0.30	0.57	0.54	0.52	0.55	0.55	0.53	0.53	0.54	0.55	0.56
Israel (2017)
    	    	    	    	    	1.00	1.00	0.85	0.80	0.76	0.72	0.63	0.54	0.51	0.53	0.51	0.52	0.51
Ontario (2017)
1.00	1.00	1.00	0.90	0.90	0.72	0.69	0.63	0.58	0.53	0.49	0.52	0.54	0.43	0.55	0.55	0.55	0.53
It seems that switching to districts and getting more plays does not help team retention. Michigan is the only district that has seen a significant increase in retention since switching to districts, and that is most likely due to the grants. It seems that if we really want to influence team retention, we need to throw money at schools as fast as we can, and never stop.



06-16-2017 01:48 PM

tjf


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Out of curiosity, what qualifies as an active team, one that registers or one that plays? Because according to both the FRC Ranking and TBA for MAR, there are only 120-121 teams.

To the main point though, this really puts it into perspective the lifespan of a FRC team.



06-16-2017 02:12 PM

Daniel_LaFleur


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
Do additional plays for a team increase the number of people exposed to the program?
Actually, what I'd like to know is if additional plays affect team sustainability.

In other words, do teams that go to a 2nd regional/district have a better chance of not going defunct?



06-16-2017 03:33 PM

Rangel


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
Actually, what I'd like to know is if additional plays affect team sustainability.

In other words, do teams that go to a 2nd regional/district have a better chance of not going defunct?
It's probably more likely that very sustainable teams are able to afford the extra events instead.



06-16-2017 04:18 PM

Jon Stratis


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
Actually, what I'd like to know is if additional plays affect team sustainability.

In other words, do teams that go to a 2nd regional/district have a better chance of not going defunct?
If you ignore Michigan in my post a little up the page, you'll see that attending more events (ie districts) does not mean an increase in team retention. Toss Michigan into the mix, and it jumps out that team retention is related closer to financial stability than it is number of plays. Those teams that can afford to attend multiple regionals or sign up for additional district events are more likely to have that sort of financial stability. So there's a correlation, I think, but not a causation between team retention and multiple events.



06-16-2017 04:54 PM

Andrew Schreiber


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
Actually, what I'd like to know is if additional plays affect team sustainability.

In other words, do teams that go to a 2nd regional/district have a better chance of not going defunct?
This is why I was questioning the direction of those relationships up above. We all would likely agree more plays is correlated with better performance but idk the cause of that.

I will stand by that performance plays a factor in retention (teams winning events don't often fold) but again. Direction of that relationship is fuzzy.

I also have a hunch distribution of quality plays in too. Something something income disparity something something Bernie Sanders. Basically - teams that get blown out of the water are less sustainable than teams that have a fight chance. Again intuitively but not numerical. I haven't found a good metric for "team competitiveness" other than my pet dynasty metric. And idk how good that is. But perhaps there's a relation between perf metric Gini and retention.



06-16-2017 06:19 PM

Jim Zondag


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Joining this late:
Most of this discussion has the wrong focus:
The switch to Districts won't drive grown, and won't drive retention on its own.
This whole thing is about Marketing, Customer Service, and Return On Investment.
People have choices; Participating in Robotics is a choice.
Why would you choose this over any other activity?
This is the key question to everyone who is a "customer" whether you are a student, mentor, parent, or school superintendent: "Why choose FIRST?"

It all comes down to the perception of what is provided and at what costs.
- Costs are time, effort, money, ( and frustration)
- Benefits are learning, fun, teamwork, prestige, etc.
Teams join due to perceived ROI, they stay due to actual ROI.

The actual growth in our case at FiM is due to a very active Customer Service approach and deliberate efforts to improve ROI.
Not all district regions behave this way, so results vary accordingly. Some regional areas exhibit some of these same traits, and are able to also demonstrate good growth and retention.

Overall, from a financial perspective, the district system has some very clear advantages in terms of participation per dollar.
This is important to many who are considering joining, so this does help with the initial sale, but will not result in sweeping changes on its own.
Most of the rest of the Non-financial ROI hinges on a combination of the local district management and field operations, and the competition experience provided by FIRST HQ.

What works for us is to build a relationship with the school districts we work with, be sensitive to their needs, work with them to solve problems and build networks, and provide an overall experience which they enjoy and want to do again and again. Basically we are building a community, and communities are key to all lasting human endeavors.
And, of course, millions of dollars of government money to offset the exorbitant registration fees also helps .



06-16-2017 11:10 PM

XaulZan11


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Regarding ROI and team experience, has FIRST released the results of the end of year surveys broken down by district/regional model? Assuming more satisfied teams are more likely to return, I feel like those results were be very insightful in determining which model is best for team retention.



06-19-2017 10:12 AM

Whatever


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

In my opinion, team retention is about keeping teams above a set of minimum levels such that they will sign up for the next year.

In the regional model, I think that roughly means:
1. Funds to cover the entrance fee and the bare minimum of parts.
2. A mentor
3. 5 students
4. A place to compete
5. A place to build

I don't know what that means in the district model but I suspect it is a bit higher due to attending 2 events.


It's probably worth noting that there are a significant number of teams in MN that have more years in existence than elimination matches played. At both regionals we attended this year one of our alliance partners for elims was a 7th year team playing in their first eliminations.



06-19-2017 10:47 AM

Jon Stratis


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatever View Post
It's probably worth noting that there are a significant number of teams in MN that have more years in existence than elimination matches played. At both regionals we attended this year one of our alliance partners for elims was a 7th year team playing in their first eliminations.
This is true across FIRST. It's staggering how many teams go for long stretches without playing in elims or winning awards.



06-19-2017 10:59 AM

Akash Rastogi


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
This is true across FIRST. It's staggering how many teams go for long stretches without playing in elims or winning awards.
Just for my curiosity, do you mind grabbing these numbers for the various districts? It would be interesting to see the age of teams, how many times they've made elims, last elims played, longest dry spell of elims, etc.


Would be neat to see. I consider more teams playing in elims at lower levels to be a big improvement for team experience.



06-19-2017 11:30 AM

marshall


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Zondag View Post
What works for us is to build a relationship with the school districts we work with, be sensitive to their needs, work with them to solve problems and build networks, and provide an overall experience which they enjoy and want to do again and again.
This notion of collaborating with the school systems rather than pushing against them seems key to me. In NC, we've run into a lot of issues with schools who just don't want to participate in FRC or make participation difficult... It seems to me that the teams or tentative-teams take this as a hostile act by "uncooperative school administrations" rather than as a communication challenge to be addressed and end up fleeing from the schools to form community based teams... these community based teams perpetuate the hostile relationship and on and on... it's an awful cycle but it explains a lot of why NC has small growth. Some of these community teams just aren't sustainable without the support of something like a school.

Granted, this is my take on it and not a data based analysis of the problem... it just seems to me that more nuanced discussions between the various camps are needed to truly drive sustainable growth.



06-19-2017 11:49 AM

Kevin Leonard


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
Would be neat to see. I consider more teams playing in elims at lower levels to be a big improvement for team experience.
I think team count is the wrong metric. More teams means we're reaching more students, but it doesn't mean we're really inspiring more students.

I've seen year-after-year some teams come to an event without the ability to compete. They have a barely functioning drivetrain and they lose most of their matches because of it.

Those students don't look inspired. Those teams look like a mentor or two trying to keep a team alive with a group of students who don't care about FIRST or STEM or engineering.

What I like to see is that excited face when a team realizes they've made eliminations for the first time, when they see the results of some little engineering decision they made during the season pay off when it matters. That excitement when they win a match or climb the rope for the first time or get to play with the big dogs despite having a terrible schedule.

At a 65 team regional, only a third of teams at the event get to play in eliminations, and those teams also only get 8-9 qualification matches. Not getting selected for eliminations at a regional is probably the least inspiring thing that can happen in FIRST.

What districts do isn't necessarily increase team retention, but it increases the teams that get to play in eliminations, it raises the floor of an area so more teams get more chances to be inspired.

tldr; It's not about the number of teams, its about the experience of the students on those teams, and getting every student in FRC the kind of experience that many of us who keep coming back had.



06-19-2017 01:38 PM

n3rdchik


Unread Re: paper: FRC Growth numbers

I think there are several things we need to measure - team growth, population growth (total number of kids) and engagement. It has been depressing talking with young people in some competitions when asked about their role on the team say that they just "hung out".



view entire thread

Reply

Tags

loading ...



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:51 AM.

The Chief Delphi Forums are sponsored by Innovation First International, Inc.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © Chief Delphi