ERIC Number: ED270510
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Incentives and Disincentives for Subject Matter Difficulty and Student Effort: Course Grade Determinants across the Stratification System.
Farkas, George; Hotchkiss, Lawrence
The structure of incentives and disincentives for student effort in school, and how this structure may be modified by educational reform, were investigated using data from the High School and Beyond (HS&B) survey. A framework was designed which blends sociologists' focus on school organization and educational stratification with economists' explicit attention to individual response to incentive structures. Independent variables such as homework time, misbehavior, and difficulty of courses were found to exert a significant effect on course grade response. However, the magnitude of these effects are slight, and this suggests that stronger incentives for homework time and good behavior may be desirable. Minority, low socioeconomic status, and non-academic track youths do not receive lower rewards for good behavior; and minorities and non-academic track youth suffer weaker penalties in terms of negative grading effects for attempting more difficult courses. Yet the variables examined in the study are unable to account for the generally lower grade point averages earned by these students. The extent to which such inter-group differences are due to ascription, ability, or motivation remains a research question. A 37-item reference list is appended. (Author/KH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Ohio State Univ., Columbus. National Center for Research in Vocational Education.