Request for research: statistics of rookie retention

I believe, with no proof, that recognizing a rookie team is a big factor in that team’s continued participation in FRC. To test that belief, I’d like to commission** a study of the statistics of rookie retention.

Does receiving a rookie award (Rookie Inspiration, Rookie All Star, Highest Rookie Seed) increase or decrease the likelihood that a team will compete a year later?

To what degree does attending multiple regionals or the Championship event affect the likelihood of rookie team retention? Does notable on-field performance, like appearance in the elimination rounds, have an effect?

The above are first-order questions. Knowing the answers to them would allow us to ask some really interesting second-order questions, like: Do these effects persist for multiple years? Have the strength of these effects changed at all over the past years? Are these effects communicable to others; i.e. does the success of a rookie team have any measurable effect on the generation and/or retention of nearby teams?

All of this data is available, and a carefully reasoned analysis of the data would make a great white paper. I estimate that it would take me about 6 hours of work to answer the first-order questions, and another 20 hours to answer the second-order ones. Anybody up for it?

**No compensation will be offered :slight_smile:

While I recognize that one data point does not a trend make:

4334 (2012 rookies) attended GTREast in 2012, won RAS, and went to CMP, got selected as the 23rd pick by 2056/1114 to form the Eh Team, from the #2 alliance in Archimedes, went on to be Division Champions, and played on Einstein.

In 2013 they: are attending 2 regionals + Championship, and were largely the drive behind the formation of the Western Canada FRC Regional. A new event in a region that had just 2 teams (1482, and 4334) one year ago.

At the same time, I know of a team that won Rookie All-Star, attended Championship, and was then disbanded the next year.

Many other factors go into team sustainability aside from winning awards and attending Championship. Correlation does not imply causation, but it could be useful to take a look at it.

Many people not familiar with FIRST are surprised when I tell them there are about ~2500 active teams despite team numbers approaching the 5,000s (of course, some team numbers are withheld). We all know that supporting a team is incredibly hard work so count yourself blessed to be part of teams that have “made it,” so to speak.

Another thing you should consider, is that the Rookie All Star and the Rookie Inspiration awards, are given to teams who already show signs of great strength for coming years, so counting for how much of their future success is thanks to the recognition, and what was already in that team is hard to know.

Nate - I’d definitely be very interested in helping with this type of whitepaper! I won’t have any time until after April (3 events between now and then, and likely over 11,000 photos to process!), but I’d be happy to jump in and help after that if that would be useful.

Just anecdotally, a great area to study would be the start up of Regional events. I know there were at least 7 rookies started the first year of the Finger Lakes Event and as far as I can remember, all 7 are still competing today (one took a year off I believe). I don’t know if that comes from the strength of the Rochester community, or the founding of the local Regional and support from the committee. But I know some of those teams were organic (ie not started by the committee) but others may have been encouraged by the committee. So I’d love to help dig up some of those “pockets” or “bursts” of teams that survived. I also know that in Mass an influx of sponsorship caused a TON of Rookies to be started several years ago, and so many of them died off mostly because of lack of mentors.

Ultimately, I think the biggest question that you/we are alluding to is How do we create and RETAIN more Rookies? Right?? :slight_smile:

This is really interesting to me. Actually, we give the RAS and Inspiration awards to teams that we think have the qualities that lead to sustainability and strength. Are we right or wrong?

It’s a messy world, and things are locked together in complex feedback loops.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts so far.

So I just did some quick preliminary research on this.

I used the “All FRC Teams that Ever Were” and the “FRC Team Awards 1992-present” from I only looked at the winners of the “rookie” awards, not all awards. 1428 individual awards were looked at.

I found that for the winners of a “rookie award” 93.2773109% competed the next year. Breaking it down by award:

Autodesk Rising Star Rookie Team Award: 100% (There were only two of these ever given)

Rookie Inspiration Award: 91.2144703%

Highest Rookie Seed: 93.0585683%

Rookie All-Star: 94.8096886%

I know this isn’t as comprehensive as your plan, but it gives some sense of the awards’ impact.

Well just looking at Florida award winners 2012 back at rookie years
those in bold did not make it to their second year

4379: 1 regional, RAS. No longer active
4064: 1 regional, RI
4013: 2 regionals, RAS.
3998: 1 regional, HRS, Alliance Captain
3932: 1 regional, HRS, RI, Alliance Captain

3622: 1 regional, RAS. No longer active*
3549: 1 regional, RI. No longer active
3520: 1 regional, HRS. No longer active

3164: 1 regional, HRS, RAS, Quaterfinalist.
3149: 1 regional, RI. No longer Active

2885: 1 regional, HRS. No longer active
2884: 1 regional, RAS. No longer active
2757: 1 regional, RI.

2564: 1 regional, HRS, RAS, Quaterfinalist. No longer Active
2422: 1 regional, RI. No longer active

2278: 1 regional, RI. No longer Active
2100: 1 regional, HRS, RAS. No longer active

1902: 2 regional, 2 HRS, RAS, RI, Finalist, Semi-Finalist, Division Finlist
1872: 1 Regional, RI.

*3622 had issues with the school so alumni went to a private school with any interested former members to form 3932

So based on the numbers 10 of the 19 award winners from Florida in the last 7 years are no longer active with 6 not even making it to 2nd year. Believe it or not there are more teams active in Florida who did not win an award there rookie year then those that did.