Thursday, February 5, 2015

Motivation and Incentives in Education: Evidence from a Summer Reading Experiment

For whom and under what conditions do incentives work in education?

In the context of a summer reading program called Project READS, this study tested whether responsiveness to incentives is positively or negatively related to the student's baseline level of motivation to read.

Elementary school students were mailed books weekly during the summer, mailed books and also offered an incentive to read, or assigned to a control group. 

Students who were already more motivated to read were more responsive to incentives, suggesting that incentives may not effectively target the students whose behavior they are intended to change.

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