Mentor Activties Interaction Survey


TL;DR

Here's a summary of the sciëntific reasoning behind this.

Sciëntific Question

How are students here at EA (who feel positive about mentor activities likely to report involvement with mentor activities? Subsequently, if they are likely to report strong involvement, will those students also report positive interaction with said activities? And if those students are likely to report weak interaction, will those students also report negative interaction? Is there a Kendall Correlation between these two variäbles of engagement and excitement?

Introduction

Read the sections Zipf's law and Experimentation .

Hypothesis

One comes to an absolutist view of the world if they are unaware of or intentionally avoid to look out for evidence, philosophies, ideologies, and stories that contradict or simply exist outside of one's own experiënces. Such people with a one-sided view of the greater world cannot be reasonably assumed to be responsible in making decisions or assumptions concerning a type of segregation they are unaware of, and are especially malignant if it is the case that they, again, are intentionally allowing themselves to remain ignorant in the face of collective outside experiënce. All this is to say that one must consider things alien to themselves if attempting to be responsible or considerate.

Naturally, I wouldn't want to make myself look like a hypocrit, so I will admit that this information is my own subjective and biäsed view. Take as much of it as you would like.

It is my belief that students who are more likely to self-report low interaction with mentor activities are also more likely to report negative feelings concerning those same activities, because they see them thru malnourished worldviews. They assume the whole experience to be negative because they don't stick around long enough to see out the positive aspects; as with greater life events, the saying goes is that there are negatives and positives to everything.

Because of the Law of Statistics (although in this instance it would be more appropriäte to call it the Heuristic of Statistics), imagine that the likely ratio of positive to negative experiences in life situations could be somewhere around 70:30. 70% of life situätions can result negatively, and only 30% would be positive. In mentor experiënces, if a participant joins the experiënce for a short time, they will go through the negative experiënces more often than positive ones. But if they stay around for the longer experiënce, they are at the very least allowing themself to go through the positive events, even if the likelihood of such a type of situätion is lower to begin with and will never ever ever reach 100% certainty. These pessismists, whether intenional or unintentional, are allowing themselves to fall victim to their self-created gambler's fallacy.

By plotting engagement (on the X-axis thru self-identification), we can also plot excitement (on the Y-axis again thru self-identification), we can then measure the truth of our sciëntific question, because we will see a correlation between engagement and excitement.

Independent Variables

I.e, questions asked to each student involved in the survey, such as:

  1. On a scale between 0 ~ 100, where 0 is "not in the slightest" or maybe even "I hate this", and 100 is "with my whole beïng", how involved would you say you are with your mentor activites?
  2. On a scale between -100 ~ +100, where any negative value is a negative opinion (-100 being "extreme dislike or opposition"), 0 beïng true neutral or unsure of how to answer (completely indifferent either way), and any positive value is a positive opinion (+100 beïng extreme joy or passion), how would you say you feel about the mentor activities?

Dependent Variables

  • Measurement of engagement
  • Measurement of excitement

Zipf's Law

I began this investigation by reminding myself by the existence of a theory by the name of Zipf's Law. It loosely states that by investigating many types of data in physical & social sciënces, one will arrive at a reasonable conclusion that the rank-frequency distribution would be an inverse relation.

What this means in layman's terms is that if one looked at a book and counted all of the words inside the book (these days one can do this by simply using Ctrl+F or Cmd+F, the Marvel And Wonder Of Modern Technology, amirite?), one would see that the author used the second-most frequently occuring word around half is much as the most frequently occuring word. The author would also have written down the third most frequent word three times less than the most, the fourth have been four times less than the most, and so on.

All without the author's intentions to do so, or rather, to not do so. It's truly some mind-blowing stuff.

Below is a graph that roughly states how this would look, for those that prefer visual learning like myself. The green dots are words, and the light pink dotted line is simply an assumption of a line of best fit, and is not actually representing any words themselves.





Experimentation

So I went off to gather information. My goal was to visit around four random students from each classroom and ask them two simple questions. In practice, I did not visit Mr. Lieberman nor Mr. Parker's mentor groups as I was told beforehand that they did not do mentor activities and would not apply to the survey. I was also not able to visit Ms. Lee's room, as her mentor group was simply too busy that day and I had felt I had already gathered enough info.

The competencies I was trying to complete thru (ie, bare minimum goals) were SCI 1.4 thru 1.6.

I made an effort to plan and organize an investigation by setting up this idea in the first place. Afterwards, I ran it by my mentor, Ms. Salisbury, and asked her if she thought it was a good ideä or if I should rework any part of it. She advised me to get a larger sample size then what I was originally goïng to go for (which would have been 2 kids from each classroom → 4 kids per room, with the caveät of Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Parker, respectively). Afterwards, it was all-clear for this to begin and so I set out to the rooms.



In hindsight, I wish I was able to ask these two questions at a random times thru-out the year for each, to minimize bias and things like that. But I suppose this whole survey, or rather, study could do with a liberal amount of revamping / workshop ... more on that later.

Those two questions were:

  1. On a scale between 0 ~ 100, where 0 is "not in the slightest" or maybe even "I hate this", and 100 is "with my whole beïng", how involved would you say you are with your mentor activites?
  2. On a scale between -100 ~ +100, where any negative value is a negative opinion (-100 being "extreme dislike or opposition"), 0 beïng true neutral or unsure of how to answer (completely indifferent either way), and any positive value is a positive opinion (+100 beïng extreme joy or passion), how would you say you feel about the mentor activities?

I interviewed students directly and got them, to the best of my ability, to respond with a single value to describe their statements and not a range. Although I will say that I found it interesting how most of my peers rated themselves in sets of tens (80, 20, 50 to give some made up examples not from the survey) rather than more precise values, like some others did (87, 21, 44.1 to give more made up examples not found in the survey)


Some results

Click the above image to view it at full resolution (2815x2160 px)

This is a graph of the results gathered from this data. X axis = how people responded to Question 1 (ie, "engagement"), and Y axis = how people responded to Question 2 (ie, "excitement"). A green dot represents a value for how an individual responded to both questions, and a red dot represents how more than one individual responded to the same question [mainly for visual clarity's sake 😃]


I started this survey because I wanted to see if I could use Zipf's Law as a starting point to describe and possibly predict the outcomes of how my school felt about interpersonal communication in our mentor groups. I thought that maybe the kids, who were not involved in them all that strongly, would rate that they felt negatively about such activities. Although this is a stereotype that I feel isn't represented enough by the data I gathered, it was a stereotype that made me curious to see if it existed in practice in the first place, which ultimately led me to the desire to fill out this project. Being honest, I do feel these results are too inconclusive for my tastes. Perhaps the same can be said for the tastes of the broader sciëntific community. Like I stated above, I'd prefer if I could do this again with a larger sample size, and I'd also like to ask them these two questions in a way that is possibly easier to understand or maybe less verbose, but still carries as much meaning as its original counterparts.

But what I will say is that these results are still very interesting. Note how, for example, the only three who answered negatively to how they felt about mentor activities all answered within 95% of complete distaste. Everyone else answered either positively, whether mild, strong, or simply neutral.

Theorizing once again

I'm just spitballing at this point, but perhaps something in our past, whether thru federal education like schools and universities, or thru social education like relationships, has taught us as individuals to see the world in large shades of black and white, instead of seeing the color of life as how it truly is: a gradiënt? Things are either set into boxes of simply being "bad" or "good", and there is not much for nuänce.

... This could also just be because there was not enough time for participants to develop a nuänced answer from such a short and informal survey. Or it could be, like I said earlier, because the question itself was difficult to understand ... Or it could very well be that this is just a tangent, haha 🙃

Another important or interesting thing to note is how a large part of the data rests where X = 65 or higher, meaning that a majority of the school would say they are involved with the activities. As a supporter of and an enthusiäst of building trust and connection in our groups, this makes me pleased to hear. But I'm sure this is detrimental news to those few who are not a fan of the mentor activities at all, hahaha 👺


Some closing thoughts

I suppose the way I should end this document is by saying that first of all, this should only be seen as a pilot study. These results are inconclusive at best, and misleading at worst. If any mentors would like to talk with me more about this kind of thing, or delíberàte more on the topic of this, I'd love to talk!




Tamber Parker <epark0332@westada.org>
Last updated: Fri 17 Sep 2021 09:40:00 PM MDT