Constructing powerful behavioral paradigms: Paying students to do well

C. Gregory Stewart, Tennessee State University

Abstract

The issue of student achievement within educational environments has constituted a necessity to examine current trends of student motivation and student incentives initiatives. This study sought to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of students’ personal learning motivation and as it relates to monetary incentives. The study was designed to examine the effects of introducing performance pay for students reflected through perceptions of middle school age students, specifically within the seventh grade. ^ The geographical area studied was limited to one school district in Western North Carolina, the Mitchell County School District. Seventh grade students participating in the study were enrolled in either Harris Middle School (6-8), Bowman Middle School (5-8), Tipton Hill Elementary (K-8), or Buladean Elementary (K-8). ^ This study collected data exploring the attitudes and perceptions of seventh grade students toward the possible implementation of incentive methods through monetary payment. Students completed a questionnaire consisting of items designed to measure their attitudes toward extrinsic monetary payment as an incentive to achieve. Specific variables explored included gender and free or reduced lunch status. ^ Frequencies and percentages were tested for descriptive interpretation. Independent t-tests were utilized to determine statistically significant differences with regard to gender and free or reduced lunch status. Pearson’s correlations were utilized to explore the relationships of the motivation of monetary payment, the incentive to achieve, and the amount of payment offered. ^ Results revealed that there were no statistically significant differences with regards to variables between males and females. Additionally, there were no statistically significant differences with regards to variables between those students receiving free or reduced lunch and those not receiving free or reduced lunch. However, the data revealed there were positive relationships among the variables of motivation of monetary payment for students and their incentive to achieve, as well as students’ incentive to achieve and the amount of payment offered. ^ Recommendations for further study included the replicating of the research to include a larger student sample, a more diverse ethnic population, various geographical locations, and within urban versus rural school districts. Furthermore, a true experimental model of research is recommended through securing financial resources and research implementation over a longer period of time. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Secondary

Recommended Citation

C. Gregory Stewart, "Constructing powerful behavioral paradigms: Paying students to do well" (2009). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3356173.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3356173

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