Rewards System

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Method & Rationale
   -   Using of rewards to increase motivation, to be applied with low motivated students/groups in order to prevent drop out.
   -   Students active participation (choosing rewards, controlling their own progress,  attendence, punctuality, attention, participation and work).
Different systems of rewards (on a digital platform or “analogic” ones, like school material, trips, snacks, website mentions...).
Description
  1. Each school should identify a group of students in their schools at risk of early school leaving to work with. (This can be a group of any size and may comprise only a small number of those students considered at risk of ESL).
  2. Once students are identified and are willing to participate – their teachers or willing teachers should be asked to fill out a motivation survey regarding that groups level of motivation. This survey will form the base line data for the project.
  3. Students involved should attend a meeting where the project and reflection sheet is explain. At this point students may be involved in deciding upon a reward.
  4. Students will bring their reflection sheet with them to class and reflect upon their work and participation – teachers should sign off on this reflection. Students will return this sheet to their contact teacher at the end of the day/week.
  5. The project would run for a between 6-8 weeks at a time depending on school terms/preference.
  6. The student with the highest points at the end of each week may receive a small reward but this is at the discretion of each individual school.
  7. Each school should decide on how the reward system should work in their schools and could be any of the following: 1) The student with the highest points receiving a reward at the end of the 6-8 weeks, 2) All students who make it to certain number of points receive a reward 3) students work together and again all students earning a certain number of points are given a group reward.
  8. At the end of the first phase of the project – another survey should be completed by staff to determine an improvement.
  9. The project should be repeated on 6-8 week cycles. Although surveys do not need to be repeated if it is seen that the project is working and changes have not been made to the project.
  10. The ESL team in each school should meet after each cycle to evaluate the process and see if it is working well/efficiently or if there are changes that need to be made.
  11. The ESL team coordinator should communicate these evaluations and any changes made within their schools with the European ESL group at the online skype meetings.
It is important to recognise that while all schools/Countries are experiencing similar problems with Early School Leaving – Cultural differences and differences within our school systems may mean that the project has some variables within each country while the main principal of a reward to increase motivation should remain the same.
 

Implementation of Rewards System in each country

 AUSTRIA

Tools: Social Cube, Methodes : Digital reward system( XP-Grading System (Exercises Only), XP-Grading System), Analogic Reward System. Advantages of Social Cube as rewar system: Overview for each student, can check the history of evaluation, comparison of him and the average of the whole group

XP-Grading System (Exercises Only): Grade 3rd

Department:   technical college,
Class:          Software Engineering ,
students:        9 (1 female, 8 male),
Age of students:           17-18   ,
Measure:        XP grading system (using online tool “Socialcube”, https://socialcube.net/ ),
Teacher: Ralph Jank.
Rewards:  100 points each exercise, 10 extra points can be collected for doing the work just in time, 20 extra points can be collected for discussing their solution in class,  lose 10 points for copy an exercise solution XP-Grading System.

XP-Grading SystemGrade: Grade 1st

Department:   technical college,
Class: Applied Mathematics,
students:      16 (all male),
Age of students:         14-15,
Measure: XP grading system (using online tool “Socialcube”, https://socialcube.net/ ),
Teacher: Michael Romani.
Rewards: 100 points for each test, 2 tests per semester, 50 points for each homework, 50 points for participation, Extra points are possible. In Austria, we have five grades 1 (best) to 4, and 5 (failed). For each section, as well as for the total sum of XP points these rules are applied:           percentage of XPs       grade   <50%.5 , 50-62%:4 , 63-75%:3, 76-88%:2 , >88%:1

General Reward System Grade: Grade 3rd

Applied Mathematics of students:     24 (all male),
Age of students:    17-19,
Measure:         SMILE Reward System,
Teacher: Michael Romani
The ESL Reward booklet for keeping track of the performance is used, punctuality, organization, work in class, participation,
After each lesson the students score themselves from 1-3, If there were no assignments in the lesson → field is left blank,
After collecting the booklets, the self-assessments of the students is checked,
On a monthly basis, the score points for the various sections are summarized.
These sums are compared with the total number of points one can achieve in a section. E.g.: Student X – March – Punctuality 21 of 24, Organization 24/24, Work in Class 4/6, Participation 24/24
 

 BELGIUM

General Reward System Grade: Grade 3rd

Different rewards, three different cycles or periods:
Cycle 1: Start-try out in May 2016, 1 teacher for 1 week, 5 students 3 Print Professional direction, Reward: Sandwich + a drink. Getting points for: Punctuality, to keep order,  discipline, attitude (successful).
Cycle 2: Same project. Different classes and different/more teachers. For 3 weeks. Reward: Wild card (unsuccessful). Reasons: Too many students and teachers involved for too long time.
Cycle 3: New try-out, personal / individual supervision, 1 teacher / 1 student (one to one reward system), successful.
 

 SPAIN

General Reward System Grade: Grades 1st, 2nd, 4th

Teachers involved: 10,
8 different subjects: (English, Mathematics, Music, Natural Sciences, P.E., Social Sciences, Spanish, Special Needs)
Different grades and students’ profiles: 1º ESO, 12-13 years, heterogeneous group including many roma students, high rates of failure , many absences, + 3 students with special needs. 2º ESO PMAR, 13-14 years: Special stream of 6 students at dropout risk (lack of abilities, academic delay, social and family problems)
Rewards: Teachers & students record the attendance, work, participation, organization and other meritorious activities of the pupils daily;
the system of rewards is reviewed monthly, rewards chosen by students: school items, healthy snacks, website mentions, cinema tickets and burgers.
FIRST CYCLE, September & October (website report)
The two students that got more points were  awarded. Prize was school material. Students were happy and interested in the system. Some students out of the reward system complained, they were better students with better marks and no prize for them. Some teachers were skeptical, slight improvements in a few students.
SECOND CYCLE, November, December (website report Novemberwebsite report December)
We rewarded the student that got more total points (school items) and besides one student of each grade (snack and drink during the break). Students were less interested in the system, they even forgot to ask for the prize. Each teacher could apply other reinforcements (free time, a movie) when the group as a whole got a certain amount of points) or some students got a minimum.
THIRD CYCLE: January-March (website report)
The rewarded students were those who got more points in each grade. The prize was bigger: attending a movie and having a burger meal accompanied by a teacher. Students were very interested in the system, asked for the prize. We decided to repeat these rewards. They seemed enthusiastic about it but the school achievements were not better.
 

 SWEDEN

General Reward System

The group of students we targeted was student already at a big risk of ESL (low attendance, failed grades). Group consisted of 5 students, grouped together in a separate classroom at school with 1 teacher responsible for all lessons in theoretical subjects.
FIRST CYCLE:
Due to problems within the groups of students (social issues outside of school but affecting our possibility to work with the students we had to postpone the start of the reward system until after Christmas.
 
SECOND CYCLE:
After Christmas even more social issues happened, this delayed the start even more. 
When we finally started, only 2 students were left in the group. We tried to work with them, but they couldn't be motivated by any rewards, we suggested multiple versions of rewards but none were of interest. They were encouraged to think of own rewards but they didn't manage to come up with any. In addition, since they have all lessons in the same classroom at school the task of keeping track of school materials didn't really apply. After many delays, 2 students tried the reward system for a week or 2 but it didn't work with them.

 IRELAND

General Reward System

2 cycles : 1 trial, 1 real
Trial cycle was more effective as it was based in one subject and a more concentrated group
1st real cycle – started well
Small treats more effective than the big ones
Problems bringing back cards, no staff time to chase students for the cards
Too similar to other projects in our school – teachers were not able to see it as something new and were not grading the students properly.

Students Outcomes

   -   Classroom atmosphere is better, motivation, participation and responsibility
   -   Youngest students improve attendance, punctuality and order.

   -   Academic results are not significantly improved.
   -   Students at big risk of drop out don’t take advantage of the system, further measures are necessary.

Tips

   -   Think big, act small: Implementation in small groups or individually is more useful. Too many students or teachers involved are difficult to deal with.
   -   Implementation with youngest students is more successful than with older ones.
   -   Most effective rewards are not material, but related to getting recognized, socialization or the very fact of getting a reward (even virtual points).
   -   Many or frequent small rewards are better.
   -   Digital rewards (similar to video games) rewards are effective.
   -   Short assessment periods and giving rewards more often is better than longer periods.
   -   Frequent changes needed to keep interest

Evaluation

Results of evaluation of students:

Regarding the digital reward system (XP Grading System):
   -   After explaining the system, the students began to check if they can cheat on the system,
       the students wanted more exercises to collect more points,
       so they wanted to do enough exercises that they don‘t cant become negative.
   -   After two month, they like the transparent points, more students do there exercises for getting points.
   -   Many students are more motivated than before, they appreciate that the grading
       system is very objective and transparent, try to compensate bad marks with some participation XPs,
   -   Some of the students compete with each other for the best XP score. Successful.
Regarding general rewards system:
   -   The self-assessment makes the students think about their performance. It Improves responsibility and control.
   -   If not better academic results, it may prevent dropout creating a positive and motivating atmosphere among teachers and students.
   -   Students like the system, they want it to continue.
   -   They don‘t have the feeling the teacher is grading them down, their self-given scores don‘t need to be changed,
       most of the students are happy, there is an extra motivation.
   -   Psychological benefits: students that usually fail are acknowledged, they are on the website, their self-esteem
   -   A few strong students thought the rewards was unfair, they need to be told about positive discrimination,
       social support and helping students with needs. This opens a space for ethical discussion.
   -   Academic improvements are not significant (similar figures of students that pass or fail and similar grades).

Results of evaluation of teachers:

   -   Rewards must be a part of our best practices; they are good for motivating, creating a positive
       atmosphere
and improving punctuality and
   -   Most effective rewards are not material, but related to recognition, socialization and participation.
   -   The system is good but something else is necessary: students with important familiar/social/
       cultural/ economic issues need other support measures.
   -   It is demanding for teachers to control the points if they have many students involved.
       It is difficult to stimulate teachers to do extra work/effort without incentives.
   -   Some reluctance among a minority of teachers to reward a duty and to reward only the weakest students.
The introduction of changes and variations in the reward system increase students’ motivation.
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