Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Homework and the motivation of students’ to complete it is a continuing challenge for educators and parents everywhere. Frustration by educator and student alike begs the question, why assign homework? What is its purpose or academic goal? Some experts argue homework is a means to assess students understanding of content, others that it allows students to exercise self-motivation to successfully complete assignments as they review skills and knowledge taught in the classroom. Still others believe homework to be a necessary building block to independent study skills and the work ethic required for future education and vocational arenas. This thesis project discusses the concept of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation for students’ completion of assigned mathematics homework. The student participants were of varying skill levels and socio economic status. The research was completed in two parts. The first section of the study was conducted under the hypothesis that an extrinsic motivator, a candy bar for an individual’s completed work, would encourage and potentially increase homework completion and was conducted over a two week time frame. The first sample group was 15 students. A negative correlation between homework completion and extrinsic motivation was concluded after the first section of the study. The second portion of the study theorized that larger rewards, a class pizza party, plus peer competition would encourage a greater percentage of the students to complete homework. This portion of the study had 80 student participants compromising five class periods and was conducted over a twelve day time frame. Results from the second portion drew a direct correlation between peer motivation and competition between classes as a factor which increased the homework finished by the students. Data was gathered using pre and post research surveys completed by the students, completed assignment scores and student grade averages were recorded to understand any changes pre and post study to both completion rates and grade average increases.


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