Incentives may involve anything presented as reward to individuals or groups of people so as to motivate them to make higher achievements. In his experiment, Levitt shows that performance of students may be boosted by giving some incentives, such as money for students who manage to attain a certain predetermined grade. Incentives seem to have tremendous impact especially in schools since they make students more serious. Although incentives may not necessarily be made a standard public policy due to the negative effects they may have, they may be given to those students who show some potential to make it to even greater heights.
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Levitt maintains that incentives work for kids. According to him, the most important thing is to find out how cheaply and easily these students can be made to work better. In his experiment, students who attain at least grade C are given $50 every month to congratulate them and motivate them to aim higher. In addition, anyone who qualifies for the ninth grade receives $500 as incentives. According to Levitt, these rewards need to be immediate so that other students who post poor results may see the need to work harder and attain what their peers are able to achieve. The experiment portrays that incentives do not necessarily need to be in monetary form but may also include giving students rides in some prestigious vehicles just to make them realize the need to make greater achievements in their lives.
One of the students involved in this experiment, Urail King seems to appreciate the fact that he would be ridden in a high-status car if he manages to get good grades. In his January exams, he managed to score a mean grade of C, although his target was A. The claim of Levitt that rewards for ninth-graders need to be immediate is true. It is evidently seen through the students who are being awarded for getting good results. For instance, King manages to score grade C in his January exams. Rewards should be immediate since they make students happier and motivate them to make quick improvements in their performance.
Other situations in which incentives need to be immediate are when some students who had been performing poorly begin to show slight signs of improvements. These students have to be rewarded immediately to make sure they improve even further. Levitt’s experiment is in harmony with Mankiw’s view that people respond to incentives. According to the experiment, the number of absentees in school seems to reduce and students avoid getting involved in activities that may have them suspended; hence, prevent them from getting the rewards. Apart from giving students monetary incentives, they may also be taken for trips, or students who get the best grades may be awarded with reading materials such as textbooks. These kinds of incentives are quite affordable and effective since students would wish to perform better so that they tour new places and get books instead of their parents having to purchase them.
The incentive programs in the experiment should not be made standard public policies and should only be practiced by those instructors who think their students can perform better. Otherwise students may begin to practice other unprofessional means of getting better grades in order to get the money without necessarily gaining the required knowledge. I would suggest that together with rewards such as trips and textbooks offered to students, other disciplinary measures should be put in place to punish students who have numerous absentee cases and get involved in wrong doings. This will enable them to focus more on school activities.
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