Do rewards such as pizza parties for kids who pass state tests really help students learn? A researcher at Stanford University collected data from nearly 200 charter schools in 17 states and found that, in a majority of cases, they do.
According to the study, schools that use rewards saw reading achievement improve by 4 percentile points a year. (There was no impact on math achievement.) Margaret Raymond, the author of the report, says the gains are more significant when teachers and administrators work together to support the use of rewards. Successful schools included those that rewarded good grades and good behavior with such gifts as concert tickets and MP3 players.