Should schools give students cash for good grades?
Total votes: 1,381
GreatSchools asks: Should schools give students cash for good grades? Parents weigh in
By GreatSchools Staff
It used to be that earning an "A" was enough of a reward for doing well in school. Today, in an effort to boost achievement, some schools give students (especially those at risk for low achievement) gift cards or high-tech gadgets. And in a surprising trend, some are rewarding students with cash.
Public schools across the country are experimenting with incentive programs. In urban districts and rural outposts, some schools reward students who earn higher test scores and grades. Rewarding students' efforts and achievement with gold stars and token prizes is, of course, nothing new. Paying them in cash is another matter.
What's the short-term impact of these cash-incentive programs on student motivation, grades and test scores? Will this approach engage students in learning for the long haul?
Some cash-incentive programs target low-income and minority students - kids who are underachieving and who are at risk of school failure. Many of these students aren't on track to graduate from high school, much less go on to college. Three of the most-publicized programs are:
While these programs are offered at different school levels, all were designed by Dr. Roland Fryer, an economics professor at Harvard University's Education Innovation Laboratory and his team. Fryer makes it clear that these financial-incentive programs are experimental and are not intended to be the total solution to improving student achievement. After the initial experimental years, he and his team will analyze the program results. From there, they'll develop additional innovations that are scalable and evidence-based - and in keeping with the overarching goal of improving academic achievement.
It's important to note that these incentive programs are not funded by taxpayer dollars. Support comes from foundations and other private funders.
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