Here's a new twist on the student incentives debate: Prison officials in California are considering offering inmates special privileges if they make use of academic classes. The brief article doesn't go into much detail, but says that prison classes don't have enough teachers and are frequently disrupted by fights, which might be why participation in classes is low. In addition to considering incentives for inmates, officials are also hiring more teachers and addressing behavior issues. Also, if you'd like to view all posts about incentives and rewards on Motivation Matters, check out our Incentives/Rewards topic page....


Over the past few days, a number of readers have pointed my attention to a variety of sources where you can find out more about cash-incentive programs. In the interest of providing as much information as I can about this topic, here's a roundup of some of the links that have been sent my way. This blog post by eduwonkette, available from edweek.org, gathers links to some papers presented at a panel about student incentives at the American Economic Association's annual meeting. Overall, the studies found that giving students incentives was not very effective. Independently of the cash-incentive program ...


I wrote a story about cash incentives for the upcoming issue of Education Week, and it's up now on edweek.org, if you'd like to take a look. One thing I didn't have room to address in the story itself was assertions by both Andres Alonso, the chief executive officer of Baltimore public schools, and Gregory Fields, the assistant superintendent for high school curriculum for Fulton County, Ga., schools, that students regularly receive monetary incentives from their parents for good grades. Mr. Alonso, in particular, stressed that these programs were making those kinds of rewards available for students whose parents ...


This AP story details an innovative, and effective, program to get students to finish their homework. At Glenpool Middle School, teachers don't give out zeros for incomplete homework assignments. Instead, they send the students to a lunch study hall, where they are expected to complete the originally assigned work. If the work still isn't completed by the end of the lunch period, their parents are contacted to make arrangements for the student to finish the assignment before or after school hours. I think this is a really good idea for a number of reasons. First of all, zeros pull down ...


I came across a really good video of a talk about giving kids the freedom to explore dangerous things. Gever Tulley, who founded a summer program called the Tinkering School, which allows kids to build inventions and generally tinker with things, urges parents to let their kids play with fire, own a knife, and drive a car--among other activities--arguing that those opportunities teach kids invaluable life lessons about the way things work and allow them to explore their natural curiosity in a positive way. It reminds me of the debate I had with my Dad about whether increased safety regulations ...


Here's a story about a school that's doing a lot of things right. Samuel Powel School in Philadelphia has met No Child Left Behind's federal benchmarks for the past four years, and in a district where less than half of students can read on grade level by the end of third grade, 96 percent of Samuel Powel School's third graders read on grade level, says the article. So what's its secret? The classes are small, it has a low rate of teacher and student turnover, and the parents are actively involved. The article also details an engaging reading lesson by ...


As we are all aware, a variety of factors--including academic pressure and laziness--motivate some students to cheat. This article in The Oregonian notes that new technology brings even more ways for students to break the rules. The Internet can be used to download plagiarized research papers, cell phones can take pictures of exam questions, and graphing calculators can store information to be called up during a test, the article says. However, the number of cheaters remains steady--and staggeringly high. "Two-thirds of high school students admit to cheating at some point during their academic careers," says the article. That's an overwhelmingly ...


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