Monday, July 5, 2010

Pay your kids to perform better !!

Yes it works. According to a study conducted by the Harvard professor Roland G. Fryer financial incentives to students can lead to higher test scores and an enhancement in their positive behavior. From the abstract:
"Our results suggest that student incentives increase achievement when the rewards are given for inputs to the educational production function, but incentives tied to output are not effective. Relative to popular education reforms of the past few decades, student incentives based on inputs produce similar gains in achievement at lower costs."
This means that incentivising studies will bear results only if students are paid to complete their assignments and for putting extra hours of study rather than promising a pay after final results i.e. on the basis of grades. When you are paid to do something you may not know exactly how to accomplish, it’s not clear how you respond. But if you are being offered money to do something very concrete, then that might be easier to respond to. Likewise paying students to perform better works because they know exactly how to get the results, they don't have to apply a new science from some parallel universe to accomplish this task.
Now as expected, there are many critics who strictly dislikes this theory. They suggest that providing financial incentives can lead to a decline in the level of intrinsic interest in learning. They further say that rather than giving such incentives, education should be made an adventurous experience, making use of new technologies and adapting to the skills and mastery of individual kids. And the experiments also give no clue on what happens when the incentives are discontinued. Whether students acquire and retain their interest in studies or will they study, only when paid.
This study surely raises a series of questions on whether it is justifiable to pay kids to study hard or it be left for them to decide how they want to play with their future.

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