Presentation on theme: "Randomised controlled trial of incentives to improve attendance at adult literacy classes Greg Brooks*, Maxine Burton*, Pam Cole*, Jeremy Miles**, Carole."— Presentation transcript:
Randomised controlled trial of incentives to improve attendance at adult literacy classes Greg Brooks*, Maxine Burton*, Pam Cole*, Jeremy Miles**, Carole Torgerson*** and David Torgerson** *School of Education, University of Sheffield **York Trials Unit, Dept of Health Sciences, University of York ***Department of Educational Studies, University of York
Background Poor adult literacy widespread problem Regular attendance known to correlate with adult learners making better progress in reading. No evidence from randomised controlled trials on incentives to attend.
Methods Pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial Built on top of existing University of Sheffield Effective practice in reading study
Funding for main study Funding for trial ESFUniversity of Sheffield (separate fund) DfES Learners SfLSU IoE NRDC University of Sheffield
Ethical approval and informed consent obtained 29 adult literacy classes allocated by York Trials Unit to two groups using minimisation Classes mainly in East Midlands and North of England, with 3 outliers in South East Main outcome: number of sessions attended Secondary outcome: reading attainment (tests devised by NFER)
Both groups received £20 to attend pre- and post-tests sessions in January and June 2005 Intervention group also received £5 for each session attended between pre- and post-tests Payments to learners after end of study
Results One class did not meet inclusion criteria – excluded 14 classes in each group Tests marked by researcher at NFER Data analysed by statistician in York blind to status of groups
Effects of incentives on sessions attended and post-test scores VariableIntervention (n = 82) Control (n = 70) Mean (SD) number of sessions attended (p = 0.019) 5.28 (2.79) 6.69 (2.71) Mean (SD) post-test literacy scores (not significantly different from pre-test for either group) (8.68) (8.84)
Limitations Small study Small incentive Incentives in form of vouchers – cash better? Did not test policy of financial sanctions
Discussion Perverse result known variously as: ‘Over-Justification Hypothesis’ ‘Corruption Effect’ ‘The Hidden Cost of Reward’ ‘Cognitive Evaluation Theory’ ‘Crowding-Out Effect’
External interventions crowd out intrinsic motivation if they are perceived as controlling. In that case, both self- determination and self-esteem suffer, and the individuals react by reducing their intrinsic motivation in the activity controlled. (Frey and Jegen, 2001, p.594) - with rider ‘for interesting tasks’ added on p.598 Plausible explanation?