Incentives can boost outcomes for underperforming students

Offering incentives to underperforming pupils can lead to better behaviour and vastly improved GCSE results, new research has found.

A project led by the University of Bristol’s Centre for Market and Public Organisation trialled the use of incentives to see if they raised students’ effort and engagement at school.

The study, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, involved 10,000 year 11 pupils in 63 schools in the poorest parts of England.

The research team looked at the impact of two types of incentive – a cash incentive of up to £80 per half-term and a non-financial incentive such as a trip to a football stadium or a theme park. The incentives were offered for pupils’ effort and engagement rather than for their exam results.

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