Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Immediate Rewards for Good Scores Can Boost Student Performance

Test performance can improve dramatically if students are offered rewards just before they are given standardized tests and if they receive the incentive immediately afterward, new research at the University of Chicago shows. Educators have long debated the value of financial and other rewards as incentives, but a series of experiments in Chicago-area schools showed that with the right kind of rewards, students achievement improved by as much as six months beyond what would be expected. The rewards apparently provide students with an incentive to take tests more seriously. One implication is that policymakers may underestimate students' ability in otherwise low-performing schools, according to the research team that conducted the experiments. Researchers used financial rewards to boost performance for older students and non-financial rewards, such as trophies, to improve performance among younger students. more

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