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  • Impact of Alchemy, Inc. on Participants’ Social Emotional Learning

    2014-2015 School Year

    The Research and Evaluation Bureau, Kent State University

  • Table of Contents Introduction…………………….…… 3-4 Evaluation Focus and Design….….... 5-8 Participants………………….………. 9-11 Findings……………………………… 12-55 Open-Ended Questions……….……... 56-63 Summary…………………………….. 64-70 Conclusions…………………….…….. Recommendations……………………

    71-72 73

    2

  • 3

    About Alchemy, Inc.

    • Alchemy, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to assist urban adolescent males to develop a sense of purpose in life and successfully function as members of a family, school, and community.

    • Alchemy’s name is derived from the ancient art of transformation in which medieval alchemists attempted to transform a lower base metal, or prima materia, into gold, called the Philosopher’s Stone. Alchemy, Inc. works to transform prima materia (urban youth) into the Philosopher’s Stone (the gold inherent within our youth).

    • The goals of Alchemy, Inc. include the following: o Increase Social Emotional Learning (SEL) o Increase school attendance o Increase GPA averages o Increase high school graduation rates o Increase college acceptance rates o Develop character traits necessary to succeed in life

  • 4

    The Sacred Circle of Alchemy, Inc.

    • The program uses myth as a sociological and pedagogical tool with the goal of teaching participants how to live in the world together. o The myths also provide examples of how each participant can realize

    the personal gifts that he brings to the world. • Myths are told to the beat of an African drum with the aim of

    creating a safe environment and sense of community for participants.

    • The Sacred Circle of Alchemy, Inc. is derived from the ritual of Aesculapius and other traditional cultures. o Youth are greeted by the adults present and then relate a brief history

    of their ailment through the discussion of myth. o Hand sanitizer of some sort is passed around to symbolize washing. o The drumming is reminiscent of the cultures’ sacred song-chanting. o Youth come to the circles to be healed through their analysis and

    discussion of myths.

  • 5

    Evaluation Focus

    • The focus of this evaluation is to assess the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) growth from participation in Alchemy, Inc.

    • SEL is defined as the process by which students learn to: o Recognize and manage emotions o Care about others o Make good decisions o Behave ethically and responsibly o Develop positive relationships o Avoid negative behavior

    • SEL enhances the student’s ability to integrate thinking, feeling, and behaving in order to achieve important life tasks.

    • The major benefits of SEL are to: o Enhance growth and learning o Prepare students for life

  • 6

    Evaluation Design

    • A survey was administered to 6th through 12th grade participants of the Alchemy, Inc. program in the following schools:

    o Crouse Middle School o Innes Middle School o Litchfield Middle School o Akron Early College High School o Buchtel Community Learning Center High School o Copley High School o Coventry High School o Firestone High School o Garfield High School o Kenmore High School o St. Vincent-St Mary High School

  • Evaluation Design Continued…

    • The survey presented participants with major themes faced by the heroes in the myths. The themes represent challenges in the hero’s quest. For example, one theme is “being connected to something larger than oneself.”

    • Within each theme, there were five to seven pairs of Likert-type items representing social-emotional development concepts.

    • The first item in each pair asked the participant to indicate the extent to which he felt he had learned about that concept. The second item in each pair asked the participant to indicate the extent to which he felt his behavior or attitude had changed in that area as a result of participation in Alchemy, Inc.

    • Participants responded to each item using the following scale:  1=Not at all  2=Only a little  3=Some  4=A lot

    • A total of 60 surveys were collected. 7

  • 8

    Evaluation Design Continued…

    • Open-ended questions were included in the survey to assess the following: o Which myths made the biggest impact on participants in terms of each

    major theme presented o Who are the most influential males in the lives of participants o Which myth had the biggest impact overall on participants o Changes that participants have made in their lives as a result of

    participation in Alchemy, Inc. o What participants like most about Alchemy, Inc.

  • 9

    Participants Number of Students in Each Grade Level at Each Participating School

    6th 9th 10th 11th Total

    Innes Middle School 10 0 0 0 10

    Crouse Middle School 13 0 0 0 13

    Litchfield Middle School 14 0 0 0 14

    St. Vincent-St. Mary High School 0 3 0 0 3

    Buchtel CLC High School 0 5 1 0 6

    Firestone High School 0 0 3 1 4

    Kenmore High School 0 2 1 0 3

    Akron Early College High School 0 1 0 0 1

    Coventry High School 0 1 0 0 1

    Garfield High School 0 1 2 1 4

    Copley High School 0 1 0 0 1

    *No participants from 7th, 8th, and 12th grade

  • Participants continued…

    Grade N Percent

    6th 37 62%

    9th 14 23%

    10th 7 12%

    11th 2 3%

    Total 60 100%

    Summary of Number of Students in Each Grade Level

    10

  • Participants continued…

    Number of Years N Percent

    1 37 62%

    2 3 5%

    3 0 0%

    4 or More 20 33%

    Total 60 100%

    10

    Including this year, how long have you been participating in Alchemy?

  • 12

    Findings

    • The survey was divided into sections corresponding to the major themes faced by the heroes in the myths.

    • Participants responded according to the extent they had “learned about” each item and then according to the extent to which they had “changed their behavior/attitude” about each item.

    • The following slides present descriptive statistics (percentages and averages) for each item within each section.

  • 13

    Section 1 Being Connected to Something

    Larger than Oneself

  • 14

    Recognizing the rights of others

    n=23; mean=3.65

    Scale: 1=Not at all, 2=Only a little, 3=Some, 4=A lot

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    69.6

    26.1

    4.3

    0.0

    Learned

    Pe rc

    en t

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    68.2

    31.8

    0.0 0.0

    Behavior or Attitude Changed

    Pe rc

    en t

    n=22; mean=3.68

  • 15

    Respecting the points of view of others

    n=22; mean=3.59

    Scale: 1=Not at all, 2=Only a little, 3=Some, 4=A lot

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    59.1

    40.9

    0.0 0.0

    Learned

    Pe rc

    en t

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    63.6

    27.3

    9.1

    0.0

    Behavior or Attitude Changed

    Pe rc

    en t

    n=22; mean=3.55

  • 16

    Accepting and respecting individual differences

    n=22; mean=3.68

    Scale: 1=Not at all, 2=Only a little, 3=Some, 4=A lot

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    72.7

    22.7

    4.5

    0.0

    Learned

    Pe rc

    en t

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    68.2

    22.7

    9.1

    0.0

    Behavior or Attitude Changed

    Pe rc

    en t

    n=22; mean=3.59

  • 17

    Accepting and respecting ethnic and cultural differences

    n=23; mean=3.48

    Scale: 1=Not at all, 2=Only a little, 3=Some, 4=A lot

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    52.2 43.5

    4.3

    0.0

    Learned

    Pe rc

    en t

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    63.6

    27.3

    4.5 4.5

    Behavior or Attitude Changed

    Pe rc

    en t

    n=22; mean=3.50

  • 18

    Which myth made the biggest impact on you in terms of learning about becoming connected?

    • The Devil’s Sooty Brother (4) • Parsifal (3) • The Firebird (2) • The Killing Virtue (1) • The Water of Life (1) • Go I Know Not Whither, Bring Back I Know Not What (1) • Theseus (1) • The King of the Golden Mountain (1) • The White Snake (1) • The Golden Bird/Feather (1) • Love Caused It All (1)

    Number in parentheses indicates number of responses for each item.

  • 19

    Section 2 Acquiring Basic Skills

  • 20

    Learning how to set goals

    n=23; mean=3.57

    Scale: 1=Not at all, 2=Only a little, 3=Some, 4=A lot

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    69.6

    21.7

    4.3 4.3

    Learned

    Pe rc

    en t

    0