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EFFECTS OF EXTERNAL INCENTIVES ON INTRINSIC MOTIVATION OF STUDENTS An Action Research Project by Cassandra Caceres Spring 2011 7202 T
Table of Contents Abstract Introduction • Statement of the Problem • Review of Related Literature • Statement of the Hypothesis Method • Participants (N) • Instruments (s) • Experimental Design • Procedure Results Discussion Implications References
Abstract After encountering a large number of classrooms where tangible rewards were a staple of classroom management, a teaching candidate decided to research its effects on the intrinsic motivation of students. In a Queens Public School, the researcher decided to investigate the matter. Using two third grade general education classes, the researcher designed an experiment in which the students would participate in the same 5 day science unit plan. Prior to the unit plan, the students were given a survey on how interested they were in school, how often they look pay attention to their teachers, if they think they are boring, and if they like the topics they study. During the Unit plan, the designated treatment group, Class A received no type of physical reward or incentive for their participation in the lessons. Instead Class A was motivated via Teacher Praise, Peer Praise Notes, Positive Reinforcement, and opportunities to respond. Class B the control group, was provided with the same form of treatment that they had been conditioned to all year. Class B received a tangible/physical reward or incentive, at the start and end of every lesson. At the end of the lesson, the students were given assessments and post tested by the use of a final survey. The final survey determined if the students, enjoyed the unit, if they found it interesting, and if they would like to learn more about the topics introduced to them. Based on the results from the post test, Class A showed an increase of 1 to 2 points on the Likert Scale used in all areas of the survey excluding of course the demographics, showing an increase in intrinsic motivation and interest. Class B’s results remained the same as they were on the post test survey.
Introduction Importance of Eliminating Contingent Rewards Educators must not just inform children about the world, teach them to read, to write, and to do arithmetic. They must also help equip children with the skills needed to participate in adult interactions. This is not done by doling out response-contingent awards. In fact rewards do just the opposite. Response – contingent rewards establish a power hierarchy. Teachers have the power and they use it to get children to comply with their expectations in order to get rewards. Subservience does not develop responsible adults. (Hall, 2009; Marshall 2005)
Statement of the Problem In Queens Public School X, the use of external incentives is a frequent strategy used by teachers to attain the cooperation of students during instruction and throughout the day. Excessive use of such rewards reduces intrinsic motivation and desire to learn as students become blinded by a material reward. Teachers may find it more beneficial to alternate strategies of motivation and praise that do not include contingent rewards.
Review of Related Literature: PROS Simple verbal praise from both teachers and peers s shown to have a more lasting effect than tangible rewards which have become very popular (Gable, Hester, Rock & Hughes 2009; Storemont, Smith & Lewis 2007; Peterson-Nelson, Caldarella, Young & Webb 2008). OTR allows children to voice their thoughts about a lesson during and after the lesson occurs. So that the teacher has a better way to tailor to their interests ( Moore, - Partin, Robertson, Maggin, Oliver, & Wheby, 2010). Confusing the student who is already motivated or even worse motivated to learn by cultural/social norms may damage the intrinsic drive ( Wang & Guthrie 2004; Gratier, Greenfield, & Isaac 2009). Positive Reinforcement and Praise shows a child that their actions are valued and meaningful. It keeps them from becoming solely dependent on immediate gratification. (Sigler, & Aamidor 2005; Trolinder, Choi, & Proctor 2004; Lannie & Mc. Curdy 2007; Morrison & Jones 2006). External motivators like treasure boxes, point systems, and other behavior tracking programs cannot be used. Children are motivated by: Caring, connection, contribution, and the empowerment of conflict resolution. ” (Hoffman, Hutchinson, & Reiss, 2009) “The behavior approach fails to allow for the responsibility that one act/event can signify in multiply ways, hugely complicating the response it will elicit in a particular child. ” ( Woods, 2008). Verbal rewards are delivered immediately after the target behavior occurs, thereby increasing the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated. Tangible rewards are often delivered days or weeks after treatment, virtually ensuring a decrease in the occurrence of the targeted behavior. “( Arkin-Little, Eckert, Lovett, & Little 2004).
Review of Related Literature CONS ‘ “I have learned that assertive discipline is very effective when used consistently. . I implemented a new discipline plan, reward system, and class-wide reward with much success. …. . my mentor was completely supportive. …I was keeping very detailed documentations…I was constantly checking myself for consistency. ” ‘ (Desiderio and Mullennix 2005) “. . Research has demonstrated that DRO paired with edible reinforcement has reduced inappropriate behavior in children. ” ( Daddario, Anhalt & Barton 2007) “ To merely suppose or expect academic behaviors, while failing to reward academic behaviors when they occur, sends a mixed message that assigned academic behavior is important but not important enough to reward. ( Skinner, Williams & Neddenriep, 2004) Gifted classes and well performing students are not swayed by material reward in fact their participation and performance only is enhanced as long as the lessons are interesting and elements such as competition are present ( Cropper 1998; Vansteenkiste, Timmerman & Lens 2008; De. Vahl, King & Williamson 2005).
Statement of the Hypothesis (Hr) Will administer the same three day Unit ( 5 lessons) to 2 general education 3 rd grade classes at Public School X. Class B will receive rewards and incentives to cooperate with and participate in the lessons. Class A will receive no promise of a reward or prize only praise and acknowledgement and other non contingent rewards for will be shown for their cooperation. Both classes will be pretested via survey and post tested to measure the change in motivation if any.
Method: Participants (N) and Instruments Class A: Public School X Class B: Public School X Class A contains 24 students Class B contains 26 students General Education Class 3 rd Grade Class Pretest : Pretest Survey Class A and Class B both received survey. Post-test: Post-test Survey Class A and Class B both received final survey after the 5 day unit was administered.
Method: Experimental Design Quasi Experimental: Nonequivalent Control Group Design. • Two groups: Designated treatment group (X 1) and control group (X 2) are pre-tested (O), exposed to a treatment (X), and post-tested (O). • Symbolic Design: O X 1 O O X 2 O Threats to Validity: Internal: History, Maturation, Pretest Sanitization, Morality, Differential Selection External: Pretest Treatment, Selection Treatment Interaction Multiple Treatment, Treatment Diffusion, Experimenter Effects, Participant Effects
Method: Procedure Step 1: Students were administered consent forms for their parents to review and sign. Step 2: Students in Class A and B were given a pretest (survey), the Friday before intervention began. Step 3 Monday Morning Classes A and B began the 5 day science unit • Class A receives no tangible rewards for 5 days. Instead the following practices are administered: Praise, Peer Praise, Opportunity to Respond, Positive Reinforcement, Direct Reinforcement of Behavior. • Class B receives is given an incentive before each lesson and a reward at the end of each. Monday morning Class A and Class B are given the same post test (survey).
Results Mean Scores of Pre Survey Mean Scores of Post Survey Section III Class A Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 4 Question 5 Class B 2. 0 2. 9 2. 8 1. 8 2. 8 Class A 2. 5 2. 3 2. 1 2. 6 Class B Question 1 3. 9 2. 9 Question 2 Question 3 3. 9 4. 3 2. 4 2. 1 Question 4 4. 0 2. 7 Question 5 4. 2 2. 7
Results: Correlation Series 1 Linear(Series 0) 0 1 2 3 4 5 Response to Presurvey Question 3 PII Negative Correlation RXY -0. 38242 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 y-axis Linear(yaxis) 0 1 2 3 4 Response to Post Survey Question 3 Part II Weak Positive Correlation RXY 1. 222 Presurvey Response to Question 4 PIII Correlation Class B 3. 5 3 2. 5 2 1. 5 1 0. 5 0 Series 1 Linear(Series 0) 0 6 Response to Post survey Question 4 Part II 3. 5 3 2. 5 2 1. 5 1 0. 5 0 Response to post Survey Question 4 Part IIIII Response to Presurvey Question 4 PIII Correlation Class A 5 10 15 20 25 Presurvey Response to Question 3 PII 30 Positive Correlation RXY -0. 33662 3. 5 3 2. 5 2 1. 5 1 0. 5 0 y-axis Linear(y-axis) 0 1 2 3 4 5 Response to Post Survey question 3 Part II Negative Correlation RXY -0. 3802 6
Results: Standard Deviation Class A : Prior and Post Intervention -7. 6 -3. 6 0. 3 4. 3 Mean: 4. 3 Median: 4 Mode: 4 Standard Deviation: 3. 9 Variance: 15. 70 35% 8. 3 3. 42 Mean: 1. 8 Median: 2 Mode: 1 Standard Deviation: 0. 7 Variance: 0. 5 56% 3. 24 12. 2 2. 76 2. 52 2. 1 1. 8 1. 44 1. 08 0. 78 0. 36 Mean: 2. 1 Median: 2 Mode: 2 Standard Deviation: 0. 7 Variance: 0. 4 61% Mean: 2. 7 Median: 3 Mode: 3 Standard Deviation: 2. 7 Variance: 15. 70 33 0. 12 -0. 36 Class B: Prior and Post Intervention
Discussion “Since the use of Coercion engenders negative feelings, such external approaches are counterproductive to good relationships and are only effective temporarily. ” (Marshall, 2005, Wang & Guthrie 2004; Gratier, Greenfield, & Isaac 2009). Students when required to take certain classes often bring an unmotivated and negative attitude. However, teachers who can facilitate interesting discussions and involve their students in activities may be able to motivate them to learn. (Docan, 2006; Lepper. Corpus, & Iyenger 2005). Initially(Pre-Survey) students in Class A became less internally motivated to research class topics the more they were given rewards. Initially, giving Class B rewards had no bearing on their internal motivation whatsoever. After Intervention Class A demonstrated that there was no connection to rewards and motivation. Strengthening research that incentives are not a factor on good performance and desire to learn. After intervention Class B demonstrated that as they became rewarded more frequently their internal motivation declined sharply as they became blinded by the incentive. (Alfie Kohn)
Implications Tangible Rewards decreased the internal motivation to learn more about the given science topic of Class B. Further Research must be conducted. A longer intervention should be conducted preferably at the beginning of the school year
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