How We’re Doing and FIRST Babies

Blog Date: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 15:40

How We’re Doing

With much of the regular competition season behind us, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the feedback we’ve received from teams. A link to a team survey is emailed to the main and alternate contacts for every team competing in a given week. These contacts are encouraged to forward the survey everyone from their team who participated in that week’s event, so we get responses from students as well as mentors. One of the questions in the survey, Question 13, asks how teams would rate the overall quality of the 2014 Aerial Assist game. This question is basically a generic “What do you think of the game?” Possible responses are ‘Very Poor’, ‘Poor’, ‘Fair’, ‘Good’ and ‘Very Good’. In the graph below, we group the ‘Good’ and ‘Very Good’ rating together in what could be considered positive ratings of the game. Similarly, we group the ‘Poor’ and ‘Very Poor’ ratings of the game together in what could be considered negative ratings of the game. The rest of the responses, those not shown on the graph, were ‘Fair’.

2014 Q13 Overall Results
2014 Survey Results - All Teams

If you are interested in a finer breakdown between the positive and negative ratings for this last week of competition, here are the current responses (the Week 5 survey is open until Wednesday of this week): 1.2 % of respondents rated the game ‘Very Poor’, while 34.8% of respondents rated the game ‘Very Good’. As a point of comparison with last year’s game Ultimate Ascent, arguably one of our most popular in recent history, 91.3% rated the game positively over all weeks of the regular competition season, with 48.7% rating it ‘Very Good’, while 1.7% rated the game negatively, with 0.3% rating it ‘Very Poor’. (Yes, even for Ultimate Ascent, we had a handful of survey respondents who strongly disliked the game).

The usual caveats with this kind of survey apply. These results are a straight reporting of those who decided to respond. This is not a scientific survey, in which we attempt to get a representative sample from our community. For this last week, as an example, 55.9% of respondents were students, with the balance being mentors and a few other participants (alumni, parents, etc.), and we know we have a higher ratio of students to mentors on our teams as a whole than this.

We’d love for every game to achieve Ultimate Ascent-like popularity, and we did not reach that level this year. Aerial Assist was a very different game for FRC, with our attempt to have a more sports-like game and strongly encourage teamwork on alliances. Some aspects of the game are working well and some, such as the burden placed on our volunteer referees, are not. Your feedback is critically important as we work to incorporate the lessons learned from this game to improve our future game design efforts. Please keep filling in those surveys! Interestingly, the number of survey responses to this season’s surveys so far, totaling over 3,600, already greatly exceeds the number of responses we received to last year’s weekly surveys for the whole season of about 2,300.

Here’s another interesting graph, Q13 responses just from Rookies.

2014 Q13 Results Rookies
2014 Survey Results - Rookie Teams Only

90.7% of our Rookie respondents gave a positive rating to this game last week, with 43.3% giving the game a ‘Very Good’ rating. As a comparison, for Ultimate Ascent, 91.7% gave the game a positive rating over all weeks of the regular competition season, with 64.6% giving the game a ‘Very Good’ rating.

As I said above, we really need to hear from you on those surveys. It’s an important tool for us as we continuously work to improve the quality of our games.

FIRST Babies

I saw a great post on Chief today about ‘FIRST Babies’. Check it out:

Rumor is that Team 88, TJ^2, had a student on their team early on who eventually had a child who is a current student member of the team. A second generation team member! Also, see the post for some photos of youngsters who are ‘growing up FIRST’!



What? No fun endeavor at making a "leaked" image or something for the 2015 game? Its April Fools Day, common :D
Its nice to see that teams truly do understand how amazing this game truly is, it may not be the best game for making your team go to #1 and win a ton a competitions, but thats not what this program is about AT ALL. I love this program because it has allowed me to have fun every year and enjoy the new challenge, and working with others is a HUGE challenge. This is coming from a senior team member who has never won a medal, but I still loveed the game!!! GO FIRST! 2015 game hint? ;D

I am the alternate contact on TIMS and received no such survey for either event we attended. Maybe I missed it?

Hi Travis, can you please send an email to, with your team number and the email address you used in TIMS, asking about this? We'll try to figure out why you may not have received the survey. All teams who participate each week should be receiving them.

Will there ever be a survey for just volunteers?

Surveys like this are great but can only be constructive to a certain point. I almost wish there was a way FIRST can include teams in their game building process to show individuals (be it teams or volunteers) that FIRST is truly a year-round time-consuming non-profit. I feel that many individuals may not be aware of how much work goes into planning these games. Especially when the only visibility to the planning process are the hints released. I believe this to be a PR issue.

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