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Paying Kids For Good Grades?

Paying Kids For Good Grades?
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Dan Gould
  • 12 september 2008

There are several schools throughout the United States initiating programs that will pay high school and elementary school students for getting good grades.

Baltimore schools have dedicated more than $935,000 to pay high school students up to $110 each to improve their state graduation exam scores. Seven other states (Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington) are participating in an Exxon/Mobil funded program that pays students $100 for each passing grade on advanced placement exams.

Though many educators are enthusiastic about the program, others feel it’s a short sighted solution.

USA Today reports:

But a few critics say the payouts amount to little more than bribes, undermining kids’ motivation to do high-quality work when they’re not being paid.

“It’s a strategy that helps only around the edges,” says Thomas Toch of the Education Sector, a Washington think tank. Most students in AP classes “are already internally motivated, and the opportunity to earn college credits for passing AP tests is a bigger motivator than small cash awards.”

Bob Schaeffer of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a watchdog group, is more blunt: “Bribing kids for higher test scores — or paying teachers bounties for their students’ work — is similar to giving them steroids,” he says. “Short-term performance might improve but the long-term effects can be very damaging.”

USA Today: “Good grades pay off literally”

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