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					Tammy Parker
EDLD 5301 – ET 8002
May 11, 2009


                       Week 5 Assignment – Action Research Proposal


      Using Extrinsic Rewards to Motivate Kindergarten Students to Complete Homework
                                        Assignments

Introduction and Background

       Teachers often use rewards as motivation for students to perform a desired task. Davis,

Winsler, and Middleton (2006) reported that most elementary students received a “myriad” of

external rewards from their teachers (p. 214). These researchers found that 77% of the

participants in their study valued rewards as effective academic motivators (p. 217). The

classroom teacher of the study sample wants to find an effective way to motive her students to

complete homework assignments. The value of using extrinsic rewards to motivate students to

complete homework by the due date will be explored.

       Extrinsic rewards are not only intended to influence student behaviors, but also to help

students assume responsibility for their own learning. In their study of a fourth grade reading

improvement program, Patchman and Wilson (2006) specified student accountability as a critical

factor in promoting student motivation (p. 680).

Purpose

       The purpose of this action research study will be to examine the extent to which extrinsic

rewards impact the motivation of Kindergarten students to complete homework assignments.

Literature Review

       Many young children who enter Kindergarten have not yet developed self-management

strategies to aid them in independent learning. The teacher provided homework to reinforce

classroom learning, but few students completed the assignments by the due date. Previous
research showed the importance of establishing a home-school connection for student

achievement (Bogner, Raphael, & Pressley, 2002, p. 148). There was a need for the researcher

and other educators to understand effective methods to motivate young students and to help them

become responsible learners. Bogner et al. (2002) noted that holding students accountable for

their own performance typically results in improved student engagement (p. 148).

       Patrick, Mantzicopoulos, Samarapungavan, and French (2008) concluded that a

significant component of motivation is finding some merit or worth in the activity (p. 123).

Teachers often use extrinsic rewards as a means to attach value to a task and to help students

view the activity as desirable, if only for the reward that awaits them. Those extrinsic motivators

include intangible rewards such as praise, a smile, or thumbs-up as well as tangible rewards like

stickers, treats, or trinkets. Davis, Winsler, and Middleton (2006) stated that “how students

perceive the reward likely determines how effective a motivator it is in the present and over time

(p. 220).

       As students develop self-management strategies introduced through the use of extrinsic

rewards and begin to assume responsibility for their own learning, they can begin to see the

value of the reinforcement opportunities homework offers. Patchman and Wilson (2006) found

that 17 of the 22 students in their study of literacy improvement strategies considered “having to

read for homework” as “very important” (p. 682). Patrick et al. (2008) found that seeing a task or

assignment as meaningful or useful is an important component of motivation (p. 123).

Research Questions

   1. Do extrinsic rewards motivate Kindergarten students to complete homework

       assignments?

   2. Do extrinsic rewards motivate male and female Kindergarten students to complete

       homework assignments?
   3. Do extrinsic rewards have a positive impact on student self-motivation?

   4. Should extrinsic rewards be valued as a tool for affecting motivation in Kindergarten

         students?

   5. What impact does the expectation of an extrinsic reward have on the quality of student

         work?

Sample

         The sample for this action research will consist of 22 Kindergarten students in one class

at a rural elementary school in East Texas.

Data Collection Procedures/Instruments

         Before data collection begins, the researcher will file the necessary paperwork to request

that the school district Institutional Review Board (IRB) approve this proposal for compliance

with human subjects research. Once written approval has been received from the school district

IRB, the researcher will contact the parents or legal guardians of each student in the class and ask

them to provide written permission for their child to participate in the study. Only those students

for whom written permission is obtained will be included in the study.

         Student names and personally identifying information about student participants will not

be revealed when writing or sharing information about the research so that confidentiality may

be maintained.

         This study will be conducted over a nine week period. The initial or baseline period will

be for three weeks, and each of the two subsequent intervention periods will also comprise three

weeks each.

         The student participants will be asked to bring a completed daily homework assignment

to class. Tally marks will be made on a checklist to determine the number of times each student

brings his or her assignment in the initial period of three weeks. During this initial period, no
tangible or intangible extrinsic reward will be offered for assignments submitted, and the

researcher will not make students aware of the record that is being kept.

       After this initial period, student participants will be rewarded with verbal praise each day

a completed assignment is brought to class. Tally marks will be made on a checklist to determine

the number of times each student brings his or her assignment in the second three week period of

the study.

       In the final three week period of the study, student participants will be given a token

extrinsic reward (a sticker) each day a completed assignment is brought to class. Tally marks will

again be made on a checklist to determine the number of times each student brings his or her

assignment in this final three week period of the study.

       Throughout the study, student work samples from the homework assignments will be

collected, analyzed, and evaluated using a Product and Performance Assessment Form. This

rating scale will compare the student’s work to that of other students the same age and grade

level in each phase of the study. The form will also include a comments section for evaluator

observations and notations. Student work samples will be evaluated for quality as well as

completion.

       An attitude scale using graphics will be used to measure student perceptions concerning

the importance of receiving a reward for completing assignments and to determine the value

student participants assign to the extrinsic rewards used in the study.

       Additionally, the researcher will gather information in a research journal of thoughts and

observations. This information will be examined for precision and patterns then grouped into

categories and scrutinized to be sure enough data has been gathered to address the research

question. An open-ended checklist will be created using the categories, and tally marks will

indicate occurrences of specified behaviors.
Data Analysis

       In order to answer question 1, “Do extrinsic rewards motivate Kindergarten students to

complete homework assignments?” data collected from the checklist will be tallied. Measures of

the mean will be calculated to include all participants for each three-week portion of the study.

The mean will be used to determine any change in participants’ motivation and self-management

behavior with the introduction of first an intangible and then a tangible extrinsic reward. The

data will be graphed for visual comparisons.

       The number and percent of male and female participants will be determined using

descriptive statistics in the form of frequencies and this information will help to address question

2, “Do extrinsic rewards motivate male and female Kindergarten students to complete homework

assignments?” Measures of the mean will be calculated according to gender for each three-week

portion of the study. The mean will be used to determine and compare any change in male and

female participants’ motivation and self-management behavior with the introduction of the

intangible and tangible extrinsic rewards. The data will be graphed to compare male and female

tendencies.

       Questions 3 and 4 will be answered using data from the research journal of teacher

observations and thoughts as well as by using the data from the attitude scale. The two questions

of interest are: 3, “Do extrinsic rewards have a positive impact on student self-motivation?” and

4, “Should extrinsic rewards be valued as a tool for affecting motivation in Kindergarten

students?”

       Student work samples collected during each phase of the study along with the

accompanying Product and Performance Assessment Form will be used to answer question 5,

“What impact does the expectation of an extrinsic reward have on the quality of student work?”
This rating scale will compare the quality of the student’s work to that of other students the same

age and grade level in each phase of the study.

Limitations

       Several factors of this study may result in misleading information. The following risks

will be anticipated for this study:

   1. Kindergarten children may tend to agree with positive statements used in a survey.

   2. Participants may feel the extrinsic rewards used in the study have little appeal.

   3. The population is not a true random sample but a convenient sample taken for practical

       purposes.

Action Plan

       This is a proposal; therefore, findings and conclusions are not available. However, if it is

determined that the use of extrinsic rewards positively impacts the motivation of Kindergarten

students to complete homework assignments in a quality manner, then the most effective

extrinsic rewards identified in the study should be implemented to improve student achievement.
                                            References
Bogner, Kristen, Raphael, Lisa, and Pressley, Michael. (2002). How grade 1 teachers motivate

       literate activity by their students. Scientific Studies of Reading, 6 (2), 135–165.

Davis, Kelly D., Winsler, Adam, and Middleton, Michael. (2006). Students’ perceptions of

       rewards for academic performance by parents and teachers: relations with achievement

       and motivation in college. The Journal of Genetic Psychology,167(2), 211-220.

Pachtman, Andrew B. and Wilson, Karen A. (2006). What do the kids think? The Reading

       Teacher, 59 (7), 680-684.

Patrick, Helen, Mantzicopoulos, Panayota, Samarapungavan, Ala, and French, Brian F. (2008).

       Patterns of young children’s motivation for science and teacher-child relationships. The

       Journal of Experimental Education, 76 (2), 122-144.

				
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