Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



One of the biggest obstacles that a high school teacher faces in the classroom is motivating students to complete work. Traditional ideology focuses on intrinsic rewards as way to encourage students to participate and try in the classroom. Things like valuing education, planning for college, and taking pride in a good report card are used in attempts to motivate. Yet, in the adult world, people expect a concrete extrinsic reward (i.e. a paycheck) for the work that they do. This study takes the idea of extrinsic rewards and brings them into the classroom. This study was conducted over two academic years at two different schools. Students were split into two groups. Experimental groups were offered a reward of a pizza party if they scored an 80% or above on a unit exam. Control groups were not offered a reward. The students were taught the same material on the same day and given identical assessments. The data collected from the study showed that offering a reward increased student’s test scores during the 2010-2011 school year in East Feliciana Parish. No effect was seen during the 2011-2012 school year at Madison Prep Academy. Males in the experimental group showed no difference when compared to males in the control group. Females in the experimental group in East Feliciana outperformed females in the control group but the results were inconclusive for females at Madison Prep. Differences were seen between genders in experimental groups but there does not seem to be a pattern to which group (males or females) performed higher. Factors such as small sample sizes and school culture may have had an effect on the results.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Browne, Dana