The New Republic: No Bribe Left Behind: Putting Newt’s Zaniest Education Policy to the Test
November 28th 2011.
Another objection rests on the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Edward Deci, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, says that extrinsic cash incentives create temporary motives. “You do the work, you get paid. … Then the money stops. Do you still keep going to work?” In 1999, Deci analyzed 128 studies on incentives that overwhelmingly supported his point that providing extrinsic incentives to perform certain tasks decreased whatever intrinsic appeal they had. A 2005 study by Stanford psychologist Mark Lepper bolstered Deci’s case, finding that students who were more intrinsically motivated to perform schoolwork had better grades and test scores than peers who depended upon extrinsic rewards. Opponents of incentives further argue that there are more effective ways to get students to read; expanding the range of school libraries to include books more relatable to low-proficiency readers and letting children choose, and keep, their own books for the summer—such measures, says University of Tennessee literary expert Richard Allington, are more beneficial in the long-term.
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By Simon van Zuylen-Wood