Advanced Authentic Research

Defining Success at Palo Alto and Gunn High Schools by Ahana G., Kaitlin C. & Zahra M.

Summary

We aim to define success at Paly and Gunn and compare the two to understand the different environments and cultures present at the campuses. We intend to gather information from students attending both Palo Alto High School (Paly) as well as Gunn High School (Gunn) through mass surveys and four smaller focus groups. Focus groups would contain students, parents, teachers, as well as administrators. These will provide a more thorough understanding of students’ perceptions of success through in-depth questions and conversations. We aim to discuss factors that contribute to their definition of success, including getting into a top-tier college, home life, peers, parents, teachers, and mental health.....Our goal is to understand Paly and Gunn students’ definitions of success. We intend to reference the ideas behind Carol Dweck’s Mindset as well as Angela Duckworth’s Grit. Dweck worked to compare students with fixed and growth mindsets. Dweck claims that praising intelligence or ability doesn’t foster self-esteem or lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. Duckworth conducted experiments within the classroom setting to realize that intelligence wasn’t the only difference between the highest and lowest performing students. Duckworth expanded the reach of her experiment and used grit and tenacity to predict which employees would excel in professional settings....We intend to gather information from students attending both Palo Alto High School (Paly) as well as Gunn High School (Gunn) through mass surveys and four smaller focus groups. Two focus groups will be held at each school, each with six freshmen/sophomores or juniors/seniors. Various racial backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic standings will be represented. Our aim is to begin the research process by developing our own survey instrument that will need to be approved by the Human and Animal Subject Research Review Committee....