Supporting Students Reading Complex Texts:Evidence for Motivational Scaffolding is a new study shared by Dylan Wiliam on Twitter.

It starts with a premise used many times before — they have tutors try different instructional strategies to help teach reading to determine which ones are most effective. Many of the ones they used can be found at The Best Posts On Reading Strategies & Comprehension – Help Me Find More!

The interesting twist, however, in this study is that they add a strategy that is not often found in these kinds of studies — they want to see how those teaching techniques compare with ones that would focus on generating student motivation.

Great idea!  Of course, I was hoping to read how they were going to incorporate the most common and effective form of enhancing student motivation to read – having them read books of their choice (see The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading).

Alas, I was disappointed.  The study’s authors were focused on “motivational scaffolding”  that emphasized competition and extrinsic rewards.

They found that their versions of “motivational scaffolding” were more effective than other strategies in teaching reading comprehension.  Of course, it’s based on short-term test results, and overwhelming evidence demonstrates that extrinsic motivation might result in short-term gains, but generally also results in lower long-term motivation (see Best Posts On “Motivating” Students).

I am regularly surprised at how often researchers often miss what is staring them right in the face.