Posts tagged "incentives"
September 28, 2012
City teenagers who knew they would get cash bonuses if they did better in school spent less time socializing and more time studying, according to a new study.
But the pattern held true only for teens who were already “academically inclined,” according to the researchers who conducted the analysis, the latest in a series of studies about a city incentives experiment that was conducted from 2007 to 2010.
The program, called Opportunity NYC, offered families payments for different behaviors related to education, health care, and work. For example, families got $200 for each member who had annual physical exam, and adults received $150 a month for maintaining a full-time job.
The program ended in 2010 after generating a rich set of data that researchers are continuing to mine. A first look at the program’s results last year found little to no impact of cash incentives on children’s education.
But the latest analysis, completed by the research firm MDRC, looked only at families with teenagers and focused on behaviors that the incentives weren’t actually designed to influence. It finds that teens who were generally on track in school who had been promised cash for improved academic performance spent more time on homework and other academically oriented activities, forgoing social time in the process.
Teens who had already fallen behind in school did not change their behavior because of the incentives, the researchers found. Those teens continued dividing their time in the same way among school activities, work, and watching TV, and socializing. (more…)
September 27, 2011
Despite several spectacular setbacks, Harvard economist Roland Fryer isn’t ready to throw in the towel on incentives to boost student performance.
In recent years, New York City abandoned two different inventives programs that Fryer designed — one for students and another for teachers — after it became clear that the promise of more cash for higher test scores wasn’t paying off.
But Fryer, who last week was awarded a “genius grant” by the MacArthur foundation, has experimented with incentives in other cities and gotten different results. In a report released today, he and a colleague from Harvard University’s EdLabs offer instructions for designing incentives programs and argue that, contrary to what economic theory would predict, programs that reward “inputs” such as reading or completing homework are more effective than those that reward “outcomes” such as test scores, as New York’s program did.
In Houston, students who were paid $4 for each math skill they learned mastered more skills — and they did even better when the prize grew to $6 a skill. In Dallas, students who were paid to read books read more books.
More study is needed to figure out exactly why the Texas students responded to incentives and students in New York City did not, the researchers write. But they hypothesize that New York City students might not understand that comprehending content is key to raising scores. (more…)
October 17, 2008
Kids in other parts of the world pay to go to school. So why do some people think American kids should be paid to learn, asks education historian Diane Ravitch in a Forbes Magazine column. She writes:
In India, students compete for admission into cram schools, where they study intensively in order to compete for admission into India’s highly regarded technology colleges. Their families pay as much as $1,500 a year for this opportunity, which, for many, is a great hardship. In Korea and Japan, students attend after-school classes to boost their chances for college admission.
In the U.S., by contrast, school districts and philanthropists are embarking on ever-more elaborate efforts to persuade students to care about school and to learn basic skills.
October 10, 2008
Increasing students’ “motivation to learn” by offering incentives for school performance is essential to their success, argues Kent Pekel, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s College Readiness Consortium, which supports statewide education initiatives. In a MinnPost.com column, he writes:
Across the nation, a number of interesting efforts are under way [to take] a more intentional and systemic approach to motivation. One example is the Million Motivation Campaign in New York City, through which middle-school students are being given a free cell phone and the chance to earn minutes, music downloads and other rewards if they meet performance goals set by their schools.
It looks like Pekel didn’t get the news that the advertising-award-winning “Million” Motivation Campaign was killed over the summer because, the DOE says, too few private donors pitched in for it to continue. Pekel’s oversight — not surprising, as Million’s demise wasn’t broadcast widely — suggests that on incentives, the subway has clearly left the station, and the results of New York’s experiments aren’t likely to change this particular thrust of contemporary school reform.