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‘It shows incentives do work’: Paying kids to do their homework

An overseas study found financial incentives led to large increases in students’ reading and maths test scores.

Co-author of the study, Professor of Economics at the University of New South Wales, Richard Holden told Neil Mitchell the report compared two sets of results in students in the US.

“There are two different approaches we took,” he said.

“In Houston, Texas, we paid 5th grade kids to do mathematics problems and just that.

“It caused kids to do a lot more mathematics problems and improved test scores but they did poorly on reading.

“They basically substituted their effort from reading to mathematics.

“Then in Washington we did more horizontal testing, we paid them for homework problems, attendance for good behaviour and there the results were fantastic across the board.

“It just goes to show incentives do work.”

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