ERIC Number: ED396454
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Distractions from Teaching and Learning: Lessons from Kentucky's Use of Rewards.
Abelmann, Charles H.; Kenyon, Susan B.
If rewards are to be used as a school-reform tool, their formats must be more closely tailored to the organizational characteristics of schools and to the purpose of improving teaching and learning. This paper describes lessons learned from Kentucky's collective incentive system, the Kentucky Instructional Results Information System (KIRIS). The paper provides an overview of the history of reward programs in other states, discusses the general assumptions and conditions related to their implementation, and describes the background of Kentucky legislation and KIRIS (which was mandated in 1990 by the Kentucky Education Reform Act). The rest of the paper presents findings of case studies of three elementary schools and one high school in Kentucky that examined how the schools approached the distribution of rewards differently. The cases illustrate how the principles of reward programs and KIRIS practices are misaligned. The paper identifies six main challenges for state policy makers who consider using rewards as part of an incentive program to improve student performance: (1) involving teachers in the actual design process of the incentive program; (2) linking rewards to individual student progress; (3) resolving issues of fairness; (4) defining a clear link between the distribution of rewards and continued improvement of teaching and learning; (5) ensuring state justification and rationale for incentive programs; and (6) ensuring long-term stability of the incentive program. Three tables are included. (Contains 23 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, New Brunswick, NJ.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).