Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Incentives Improve Reading Scores

Education Week (5/27, Robelen) reported, "School-based reward programs that offer students such incentives as cash, free MP3 players, or other gifts appear to produce improved reading achievement across grade levels," according to preliminary findings from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University.
The finding "comes as a growing number of school districts and charter schools around the country are experimenting with such reward programs in the hope of improving student learning and behavior," and "suggests that incentive programs may well be a cost-effective measure to help raise achievement."
One of the researchers explained that incentives are "not a silver bullet, but for very little investment, you seem to get a pretty consistent bump." But another researcher "who recently published his own study on performance incentives in one school district" said that while the Stanford "research holds considerable potential to shed more light on the impact of incentive programs, its academic results to date should be interpreted with caution" until there is a greater amount of data to consider.

What do you think of the study's findings? Do you agree or disagree?

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