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Reward Types and Their Impact on Learner Performance Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 24th, 2022


This study focuses on determining whether reward influences a learner’s performance and the impact of the kind of reward on the gender and age of the learner. The study uses an experimental approach to test 90 categorized into nine sub-groups based on their gender and ages. Each group of students was subjected to different rewards and bore different results, although the test was similar, consisting of six mathematics questions testing addition and subtraction. The tips were choc, carrots, and a control group without rewards. The results indicated that those rewarded with choc had the best performance than those rewarded with carrots and those who were not awarded. Therefore, choc is a healthy reward compared to carrot, and the type of reward enhances children’s performance.

Introduction and Literature Review

Educators in formal settings employ various teaching skills and techniques to deliver content effectively to learners. Learning becomes enjoyable when the learner feels a sense of owning it by participating fully and being appreciated and rewarded for his efforts and achievements. Therefore, motivation is a way of investing in learners through appreciation statements or material rewards to help them demonstrate their full potential (Hendijani & Steel, 2020). This study focuses on the impact of the type of reward on enhancing performance.

Scholars differ in opinions on whether rewards play any commendable role in motivation or not. Some argue that there is no need for rewards, while others say that rewards play a crucial role in motivating humans (Adamma et al., 2018). Educational psychologists argue that performance depends on an individual’s goals and values; hence, rewards may not be relevant performance measures (Black & Allen, 2018). The aim of motivation should be to help learners to be competent rather than outshining their peers. Therefore, educational psychologists are opposed to extrinsic rewards claiming that they undermine the intrinsic motivation in individuals.

However, other scholars approve of the role of rewards in motivation in the learning process. Murayama (2018) used scientific evidence from the link between the brain’s rewards and memory systems to argue that tips are effective in the learning process. Hindi (2016) argues that rewards may be more effective when expected while not given surprises. Therefore, learners can be more focused on education when receiving tangible rewards, thus promoting academic performance through tips.

The type of reward influences the performance of learners. The magnitude of the reward plays a crucial role in performing better in all subjects (Vartak et al., 2017). The scope of this study is limited to understanding whether the type of reward influences performance among learners. Therefore, it will involve all the other research methods to provide a well-proven claim on how types of tips affect performance.

Research Methods


The project involved testing how different groups of learners behave when subjected to different motivations. The study emphasized how boys and girls of different ages act when motivated by various snacks in learning. Therefore, the main factors under investigation in this study were age and gender and how children from either gender behave when motivated by specific types of snacks. The total number of participants was 90 children, divided into three equal groups of 30 students each. A further sub-division of 15 students—every 30 learners composed of 15 boys and 15 girls from the same age group. The age was distributed into three groups labeled A, B, and C, whereby group A was made up of 30 learners aged 4-5years, group B was 9-10years, and group C was 15-to and 16 years.

Study Design

The study utilized an experimental approach to gathering data based on the behavior of the learners. The researcher controlled all the factors that could affect the research results and ensured the results could be consistent with the cause (reward) preceding the effect (performance/ score). The test involved independent (gender and age) and dependent variables (bonus and the examination score)—moreover, a control experiment of testing the test’s performance with no reward. The study maintained that learners were randomly picked the participants in this study without any further consideration except for gender and age. All the groups were subjected to each motivation condition.


The study aimed to determine whether the reward type enhances learners’ performance and whether gender plays a role in the bonus given. The study also sought to reveal whether specific tips can influence children of different ages. Therefore, all the learners in groups A, B, and C were subjected to the same test of six similar mathematics questions based on testing addition and subtraction. Each student in group A was rewarded with one choc for every correct question, and then marking could start. I repeated the same procedure in group B but with a carrot replacing choc as a reward. I repeated the process in group C without any compensation for any performance in the mathematics test.

The same procedure was repeated while reshuffling the groups for different rewards. Group A was tested with carrot as a reward; group B was not rewarded while group C was rewarded choc. The third test involved group A receiving no compensation, group B rewarded choc, while group C was rewarded carrots. I gave each group similar instructions that each question answered correctly will be rewarded with one reward: either a choc or a carrot, except for the group identified for ‘no reward’ in each of the three categories.

Results and Findings

The study applied qualitative data analysis to ensure some comparisons are made among the independent variables before conclusions are made that the type of reward plays a role in enhancing irrespective of the gender and age of the learner. An average score of 15 learners in every small sub-group was determined. The average score of learners in group A, composed of children aged 4-5 years, was calculated separately between boys and girls. The results indicated that the male students who were rewarded choc scored an average score of 70.1333%, those rewarded carrots had 26.0667%, while those with no reward attained 36.56%. I repeated the same calculations for females in the same group and realized that girls rewarded with choc had an average of 66.8667%, carrot 29.2667 %, and no reward of 20.0667%. The same calculation was repeated for Group B using choc, carrot, and no rewards, and the average results obtained from males were 75.6667%, 50.6667%, and 26%, respectively. In comparison, females in the same group were 72.3333%, 73.8%, and 28.4667 % for choc, carrot, and no reward students. Group C males scored an average score of 78.7333%, 52.2667%, and 46.5333% for choc, carrot, and no reward, respectively, while females scored 78.4667%, 86.2912%, and 41.7333% respectively for choc, carrot, and ‘no reward’ respectively.

All the boys in all age groups had excellent performance when awarded with choc, average performance when rewarded carrots except 4-5 years group, and poor performance without reward. The performance of the girl changed with age and the type of the reward. Age group 4-6 years performed well when rewarded choc, while group B and C girls performed better when rewarded with carrots than choc and with no reward.

Discussion and Conclusion

The findings concur greatly with my hypothesis that the type of reward plays a role in enhancing performance. The study involved a direct comparison of learners’ performance after being taken through different motivations. The research used choc as a healthy food snack and carrot as an unhealthy food snack, while groups receiving no reward were used as control groups in the study.

The age and gender of the learner should be a factor to consider when choosing a reward. For instance, girls scored excellent grades when rewarded with carrots except those aged 4-5 years who performed better when rewarded choc. Therefore, girls tend to consider the need for a certain type of reward, and how they can use it. The results indicated that boys were interested more in choc than carrots. However, the performance of boys became more pleasant with an increase in age, having either carrots or the choc as a reward.

Another conclusion can be drawn that girls are easily motivated by rewards since their performance was very high whenever rewards were given compared to the insufficient performance when no reward was given. Therefore, tips play a role in motivating learners to achieve good performance since the results indicate that the unrewarded students performed poorly and improved when rewarded. Moreover, we can also conclude that the reward type determines the learner’s attention to a learning process.

Finally, this study had several strengths and limitations instigated by various factors. The study is a new knowledge source that has explored rewards and motivation in a new dimension of the role of healthy versus unhealthy food snacks in performance. The study’s limitations include being focused on only one factor influencing performance, while there are other factors. It also didn’t consider the learners’ needs while deciding on rewards. Understanding learners’ interests and preferences in the selection of tips may also be complicated. Other potential areas of study may include determining whether the learner’s family background can affect the performance, how the teacher-learner relationship influences performance, and the effectiveness of material rewards and word affirmation on performance.


Adamma, O. N., Ekwutosim, O. P., & Unamba, E. C. (2018). SJME (Supremum Journal of Mathematics Education), 2(2), 51-59. Web.

Black, S., & Allen, J. D. (2018). The Reference Librarian, 59(4), 205-218. Web.

Hendijani, R., & Steel, P. (2020). Motivational congruence effect: How to reward salience and choice influence motivation and performance. Cogent Business & Management, 7(1), 1791444. Web.

Hidi, S. (2016). Revisiting the role of rewards in motivation and learning: Implications of Neuroscientific research. Educational Psychology Review, 28(1), 61-93. Web.

Murayama, K. (2018). The science of motivation; Multi-disciplinary approaches advance research on the nature and effects of stimulation. Web.

Vartak, D., Jeurissen, D., Self, M. W., & Roelfsema, P. R. (2017). The influence of attention and reward on the learning of stimulus-response associations. Scientific Reports, 7. Web.

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