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Study: investigating the rewards set by parents and teachers

A guest blog by Bill Smith, a Student Placement Software Engineer, investigating the unique rewards created by parents and teachers.


What are Doodle rewards?

Within the Doodle programmes, parents or teachers can create rewards that are awarded for earning a set number of stars.

Children are notified in Doodle when a new reward is available for them to work towards, and Doodle lets parents and teachers know once a reward has been unlocked.

From taking a trip to the park to being given a £5 note, generosity can be offered in many forms. With this in mind, we were interested to see the types of rewards that are created most frequently, how many stars are associated with them and how frequently the necessary stars are earned.


Method

As each reward set is described in words, it was challenging to automatically analyse the results. To a computer, ‘painted nails’ is as likely to mean the decoration of fingernails as it is to mean giving a child coated metallic hardware!

Because of this, a variety of approaches were tried, including using a computer programme to identify the key nouns used. However, this method didn’t handle typos well or reliably identify the variety of proper nouns used by parents and teachers.

Instead, each reward was broken down into all possible continuous phrases. These were then matched against a list of Wikipedia article titles containing the same phrases.

The category listings for these articles were then collected, and the most frequently appearing category was selected to categorise the reward.

A breakdown of the most popular reward categories is shown below:


Key findings

Money, food and television programmes (or films) were the three most popular types of rewards to offer, accounting for nearly half of those created by parents or teachers.

The average number of stars needed to unlock each reward could also be found using this data, and these findings are shown below:

Food, toys and pets required comparatively few stars to be earned, which may imply the reward set was small.

Books and gifts needed the highest number of stars. This is likely due to the reward being a whole item, such as a new book rather than a piece of cake.

Using this data, the exchange rate was also calculated, which was 1.7 pence per star.

In terms of the number of rewards redeemed, the overall average was around 10%. Broken down by categories, a wide variation can be seen:

Holidays were the most commonly redeemed, with over 40% of children earning enough stars to unlock their reward. However, many of the entries in this category are unclear and will only have meaning to members of that family.

The second-highest category is pets, likely as the very generous offer of being given a pet is highly motivating, if a little difficult to repeat indefinitely!


Key findings

  • Money, food and TV are the most common types of reward offered
  • Books, gifts and TV require the highest number of stars to be earned
  • Holidays, pets and affection (hugs etc.) are the most likely rewards to be redeemed

Would you like to have a go creating your own rewards? Download the Doodle apps to get started and enjoy thousands of interactive exercises, games and rewards!

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