Students in survey report they “do better in school” Through involvement with Destination ImagiNation
Note to editors: As school systems and legislators continue to try to find ways to improve student grades in school, a survey conducted by Destination ImagiNation suggests after school creative thinking challenge programs may prove valuable in that effort.
PHILADELPHIA, PA — In a survey of 600 students in team-based creative problem solving challenge programs with Destination ImagiNation (DI), 70 percent reported they “do better in school” because of DI, and nearly half believe DI has helped them improve their grades.
The study was conducted among primary, elementary, junior high and high school students at Destination ImagiNation’s Global Finals on the campus of the University of Tennessee in 2011. Researchers collected responses to 15 statements and then sent the results to non Destination ImagiNation personnel for analysis.
The survey has a one-percent plus- or minus-error factor. Students were asked to rate their answers to each statement by marking a block indicating:
- Strongly disagree
- Disagree some
- Agree a little
- Agree a lot
- A major yes!
- Don’t know
“A statistically significant majority of DI students report that they benefit from DI through improvements in their critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork skills,” concluded John Robert Stinespring, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Tampa, who was asked to review the raw survey data. “They further believe that these improvements raise their self-confidence and will better their lives in the long term.”
In the survey block stating, “My grades have improved since taking part in DI,” 46 percent of the students responded with a major yes, agree a lot or agree; 14 percent agreed a little; 18 percent said they did not know; 21 percent said disagreed some or strongly disagreed.
In the survey block stating, “DI helps me to do better in school,” 70 percent responded with a major yes, agree a lot or agree; 15 percent agreed a little; 5 percent did not know; 11 percent disagreed some or strongly disagreed.
“Though the vast majority of DI students report that it helps them ‘do better in school,’ a much smaller percentage reports improved grades because of DI participation,” Stinespring wrote in his evaluation. “This would be expected if students are correct in their assessment that DI focuses on skills that are less emphasized in standard school curricula. In particular, DI may improve general intelligence while schools focus on (and test) specific knowledge, such as mastering a body of facts.”
“Creative and critical thinking skills are necessary to confidently and effectively pursue new opportunities, to solve problems, and to work in teams,” said Chuck Cadle, CEO of Destination ImagiNation. “The Destination ImagiNation Program gives students open-ended challenges that foster these skills in a fun and engaging format.”
In other results, the survey showed:
– 89 percent of respondents agreed schools should make more time available for DI.
– 92 percent believed they will be “better in life” because of DI.
– 96 percent agreed that participation in DI is “valuable to me.”
– 40 percent agreed, “kids today learn a lot about critical thinking in schools.”
– 80 percent responded that DI has helped improve their self-confidence.
– 87 percent said DI helped them learn valuable communications skills.
– 86 percent agreed that “taking part in DI’s programs would be good for everyone”
– Students involved in DI say they are better problem solvers than youth not involved in DI (82 percent agreed, agreed a lot or responded a major yes).