Strengthening 4-H by analyzing enrollment data
September 8, 2014
The June issue of the Journal of Extension includes an article co-authored by Stephen Hamilton (BCTR Associate Director for Youth Development) with Angela Northern (4-H Research Specialist, Erie County) and Robbie Neff (student). Strengthening 4-H by analyzing enrollment data examines findings with the aim of understanding trends in enrollment and dropout rates. Beginning during a summer internship Neff developed and refined a process using Excel to analyze 4-H enrollment data, then progressively simplified the process and built a graphic interface that enables county staff with no statistical expertise to query the data and present findings. Neff has been working with Minnesota 4-H to adapt his tool to their system and has received inquires from other states. Work will continue this coming year to get this process into use and adapt it to the new 4-H data collection system.
The study reported here used data from the ACCESS 4-H Enrollment System to gain insight into strengthening New York State's 4-H programming. Member enrollment lists from 2009 to 2012 were analyzed using Microsoft Excel to determine trends and dropout rates. The descriptive data indicate declining 4-H enrollment in recent years and peak enrollment at grade 5. New members are more likely to drop out than members who have been involved for more than a year. New members who are high school students drop out at the highest rate. Returning members who are high school students drop out at the lowest rate.