Frequently Asked Questions


 1. What are the benefits of the study for our school?

The results of our research are likely to help teachers and school leaders to better understand students’ experiences at their school. Further, we aim to contribute to a more open debate about academic pressure and the competitiveness of college admission. 

2.    What are the benefits of participating in the study for students?

Students might benefit from participating in the study by receiving an opportunity to reflect on their high school experience and college plans. In addition, students who are participating in an focus-group or one-on-one interview can receive a small reward in the form of a gift card.

3.    What are the benefits of participating in the study for school staff?

By participating in the study, school staff will receive an opportunity to reflect on their students, the culture of their school, and the purpose of education more broadly.

4.    The study involves focus-group interviews with students. What topics will the interviews cover?

Topics will include students’ plans for post-secondary education, how students organize their time, how students define “success,” students’ well-being and work-life balance, and the role of parents’ expectations in shaping students’ aspirations.

5,    How are students selected for the interview part of the study?

Students are selected based on their course selection as well as their schedules to make sure that the interviews can take place during free blocks.


6.    Where will the results of the research be published?

The results of the research will be published in the form of a dissertation and scholarly articles that will appear in academic journals.

7.    Will my name or that of the school appear in research publications?

No, neither the name of your school nor the names of any individuals will be recorded or published. To protect your identity, we will use pseudonyms to refer to your school and to all individuals in all publications that will result from our research. 

8.    Will we have access to the results of the study?

Yes, after completion of the study, the results of the research will be shared with the administration of your school and will also be available to students and parents upon request.

9.    Who has access to the collected data? 

The collected data will be treated as strictly confidential. All data will be accessible only to the members of our research team and any interview responses will be stored separately from real names of individuals. 

10.    What are the potential risks of participating in the study?

There are only minimal risks associated with the study. The main risk is that some people might be able to identify your school based on basic descriptive school characteristics that we will report in research publications. The likelihood for this happening, however, is small and confined to individuals who have special in-depth knowledge of the Greater Boston school system and your specific school.