In the 2012 “The Condition of College & Career Readiness” report, the ACT noted that 60 percent of 2012 high school graduates are “at risk” for not succeeding in college or in their careers. The same report also points to an even lower projected success rate for Latin and African-American students. Not one of the four ACT benchmarks (English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science) had been met by more than one-half of the students in those social demographic groups.
Variables such as time spent on homework, school retention, and educational aspirations are all indicative of how much each student values education and how motivated they are to succeed academically (Gonzalez-DeHass, Willems, Holbein, 2005). There are multiple studies of applied theories questioning the relationship between goal setting and both personal and educational motivation. In all cases, setting goals in a cooperative, effort-oriented (as opposed to result or performance oriented) environment, motivation for achievement increased. Moreover, studies show that learning to learn, self-mastery, self-control, and self-esteem improved as well.
Urban Tech first seeks to build skills to think critically about how pursuing education affects their own long-term goals; they begin to analyze how an investment in education would pay off in their lives. Second, YLA helps participants to build creative problem-solving skills to set short and long-term goals; design action lists to achieve each goal; and discover tools and resources to facilitate their plan. YLA helps participants understand and strengthen character-building skills like perseverance, persistence, initiative, cooperation, and compassion that help them not only make their dreams become reality but give rise to a growing value of education in their own lives.