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The effects of incentives on the test performance of Hawaiians and Caucasians

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Item Summary

Title:The effects of incentives on the test performance of Hawaiians and Caucasians
Authors:Kubany, Edward S.
Keywords:Reward (Psychology)
Motivation (Psychology)
Educational tests and measurements -- Hawaii
Date Issued:1971
Abstract:The central question posed by the present research was, can the introduction of incentives into the test situation have a bearing on the level of test performance? A review of the literature revealed conflicting results. Traditional theories of motivation have assumed that test motivation reflects a more general, intrapsychic "need" state which is not readily alterable; hence the belief that attempts to manipulate test motivation cannot result in improved test performance. In contrast, theories of motivation based on learning principles place much greater emphasis on situational determinants of "motivated behavior" while interpreting "intrinsic motivation" in terms of previous reinforcement history. Three experiments were conducted in order to test the hypothesis that the introduction of incentives will result in test score increments. Experiments One and Two also tested the hypothesis that indigenous Hawaiians would be more influenced by group incentives and that Caucasians would be more affected by individual incentives. Experiment One--considered a pilot study--revealed no evidence that the promise of reward can alter multiple-choice test math scores in a naturalistic school setting. Alternate explanations for the nonsignificant results were offered. However, the most important conclusion drawn from Experiment One is that standardized multiple-choice achievement tests provide virtually no information about the achievement levels of many Hawaiians, and discontinuance of their use in favor of free-response tests is recommended. In Experiment Two, which was conducted in a more laboratory-oriented atmosphere than Experiment One, sixth grade students were not only promised money but actually given money immediately contingent upon correct test responses. Relative to no-incentive conditions, subjects receiving incentives obtained significantly higher test scores and spent significantly longer periods of time working on their tests. There was also some evidence that the greatest "perseverance" was demonstrated by the Hawaiian subjects in the group-incentive condition. Experiment Three was conducted in the naturalistic atmosphere of a youth correctional facility. Results showed that not only did test scores go up when incentives were introduced, but that when incentives were withdrawn, scores returned to near baseline levels. These results were interpreted as calling into question the validity of test results obtained from "motivationally deficient" youth and give rise to the recommendation that--with such populations-tests should be administered under both standard and incentive conditions. General recommendations for future research were discussed, and an expanded diagnostic system, including the classification "motivational disability" was proposed. Staats' developmental-learning conception of motivation (the A-R-D system) was used as the theoretical framework for the expanded classification system, and on the basis of Staats' A-R-D system a new model for child assessment in clinical psychology was derived and described.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii, 1971.
Bibliography: leaves [103]-108.
ix, 108 l graphs, tables
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Psychology

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