System 1 and System 2 Persuasion Tactics and Their Impacts on Secondary School Absenteeism

Chronic absenteeism: the state of lacking 10% or more of school days in a given academic year, has been an issue for as long as modern education. In 2016-2017, approximately 7 million students (16% of all students) were chronically absent. Henry M. Gunn High School has a ~5% chronic absentee rate, with some of those figures contributed by the aptly named "strategic absentees": those who cut a given class as to prepare for another. With no effective measures already in place, the aim of this proposal is to "nudge" students to attend class, without needing to impose any new campus regulators or constraints, while also actively comparing the efficacy of subconscious and conscious suggestion.

Volunteerism and Veterans' Morale

The aim of this project is to increase veteran morale in the Palo Alto community. Through research it has been determined that high levels of patriotism is correlated with high levels of veteran morale. Patriotism is a very broad concept that is hard to define. Therefore, a previously identified component of patriotism will be studied. When a nationwide survey was done regarding patriotism in the United States, community volunteerism was one category studied in which researchers associated with patriotism. This project will analyze how volunteerism in Palo Alto can be increased through action based research.

The Perceived Safety of Girls in Palo Alto

This project is based on finding differences between boys and girls perceived safety. If there is one, why? And how can they be made to feel safer? To collect data, girls and boys will be surveyed to determine if there is a difference between their answers. This survey is the basis of the project and will lead to action research. Following the survey, participants will receive a hand out “safety sacks” which hold a bright light with an alarm attached to it, along with pH paper in which someone can test their drink for drugs.

Stereotype Threat and Self-Affirmation in PAUSD

This project will examine how stereotype threat affects historically underrepresented minority students in the PAUSD middle schools. The project examines how negative stereotypes about the ethnicity of a student causes that student to perform worse in school. The project also evaluates a potential curriculum to address this issue, self-affirmation curriculum, which promotes the individual value of students in their learning, and relates it to their life experiences. A survey will be taken before and after the self-affirmation curriculum, and its effectiveness in addressing stereotype threat will be determined.

Impact of One-on-One Meetings for Low-Income PAUSD Families about A-G Requirements

Despite PAUSD's stellar reputation, only about 37% of low-income students in PAUSD are meeting A-G requirements and are deemed “college ready” and eligible for UCs. Not meeting A-G requirements makes it significantly harder for students to receive a college education and rise out of poverty. Parent communication and involvement has been proven to positively impact students, so this project will provide parents of low-income students with one-on-one meetings that will provide information on A-G requirements so that they are informed and able to help their students stay on track to meet them. The parents will be given pre and post surveys to see if there is a statistically significant difference in self reported knowledge and level of comfort on A-G requirements.

Impact of Anti-Vaccination Movement on Public Understanding of Science

Despite decades of scientific research, many still have reservations about the safety, efficacy and morality of immunization. However, most of these reservations are based off of false or incorrectly interpreted information. Through research on the spread of this information, this project aims to help educators better understand why and how this information is spread, and what can be changes can be made to improve this dissemination of and response to scientific information.

Identifying the Connection Between Low Wages and Obesity in Santa Clara County

This project focuses on some of the causes of obesity. The research will focus on the correlation between wages in Santa Clara County and what solutions may be implemented to help lower the obesity rate. The problem of obesity is extensive and needs to be resolved as higher BMI rates can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancer. The obesity rate in the Santa Clara County stands at 25.4% and a large percent of that population work low-income jobs.

Effectiveness of Academic Support/Resources post DreamCatchers

Dreamcatchers is a tutoring resource for low-income middle school students in PAUSD. This year, Dreamcatchers does not have plans to inform parents of the academic resources available to their children in/outside of PAUSD when they can no longer attend Dreamcatchers.This project aims to give these parents information on these resources and give them a pre and post-survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the project's efforts.

Educational Inequality in Lower Income Communities in the Bay Area

The economic increase of the Bay Area due to the growth of the tech sector has lead to unparalleled wealth across the Bay Area. Despite this growth, that wealth has not been spread evenly across the Bay Area and there are many communities across the Bay Area that are considered low income. Across the US and the rest of the world, economic inequality often leads to a discrepancies in educational attainment, exacerbating these problems and preventing social mobility. The Bay Area has a different form of inequality, chiefly caused by the growth of one specific sector and the resulting gentrification, so researching the schools in the lower income communities will reveal whether the same educational discrepancies exist.

Impact of Online Resources on Math Achievement in Middle School

This project attempts to determine the ways in which middle schoolers use technology in relation to their education and build on those foundations to positively impact their math achievement. This project will survey students and hold focus groups with their teachers to determine the best ways to support them. Based on these two sources of input, additional online resources will be recommended and if necessary, workshops will be held to practice their use.


Social Science

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