Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


College of Education and Human Services


Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Nancy Lauter

Committee Member

Susan Wray

Committee Member

Katrina Bulkley


The purpose of this study was to find ways to motivate middle school students to complete and turn in homework on a regular basis, and, as an outcome of consistent homework completion, to improve their test and quiz scores. Thus, the research question was: How can I motivate students to complete homework on a regular basis? A secondary question was: Will a goal setting intervention improve test and quiz scores? The study was conducted at the North Arlington Middle School, with approximately 80 sixth grade students as participants. Data collection and intervention tools included student surveys, journal and field notes, a class-based rewards system, and a goal setting intervention. The rewards system was instituted at the beginning of the school year, and enabled the class to earn a sticker each day that every student completed the homework. A pre-determined number of stickers would earn the class a reward. Homework included both student work and a ‘grade tracker’ that was signed by a parent on a weekly basis and returned to class by the student. An individual goal setting intervention was used to encourage students to achieve higher quiz and test scores. Students set a goal that they wanted to achieve on that quiz or test. If the goal was met, a reward would be given to that child. Both of these systems were implemented from September until June.

Through all of the data collection and analysis, the homework plan seemed to work in motivating students to complete their written homework. On the other hand, sometimes as many as twenty-six students (almost one third of the participants) were still not getting their grade trackers signed by parents as frequently as they completed the written work. In regards to quiz and test scores, the goal setting provided inconsistent data. At times, as many as 59 and 54 students met their goals on their tests or quizzes. This was generally when the concepts being tested were “easier.” Other times, very few students met their goals (only eleven and fourteen out of the 76 math students); this was generally when the concepts proved to be more difficult mathematical concepts. Overall, the data did not provide conclusive results to increase academic achievement in middle school students through the goal setting intervention and the homework rewards system.

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