What is the impact of cash incentives for grades on student cheating?

September 30, 2019

Do Pay-for-Grades Programs Encourage Student Cheating? Evidence from a randomized experiment.  Pay-for-grades programs are designed to increase student academic performance. One of the claims of those opposing such incentive systems is monetary incentives may lead to academic cheating. This randomized controlled study of 11 Chinese primary schools examines the effects of pay-for-grades programs on academic fraud. The study found widespread cheating behavior for students regardless of being in the control or experimental group, but no overall increase in the level of cheating for students in the pay-for-grades program. The authors conclude that educators need to be on the lookout for academic dishonesty, especially on standardized tests, while using moderate incentives to encourage student learning did not lead to increased levels of gaming the system.

Citation:  Li, T., & Zhou, Y. (2019). Do Pay-for-Grades Programs Encourage Student Academic Cheating? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment. Frontiers of Education in China14(1), 117-137.