Should Students Get Paid for Good Grades?

April 6th, 2017 07:59 Blog

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Parents have been paying students for grades for decades, but the trend is now catching on even with the schools. In fact, some schools are now offering cash incentives to their students in order to get them to succeed. The question remains, however: Is it really good for students, or is it actually just harming them in the long run? Does it effect their development somehow, or is it just another way to prepare them for the road ahead?

Read up on the pros and cons, and decide for yourself. 

The Pros and Cons of Paying for Grades

Below is a list of pros and cons involved in paying students for grades. Each child is different so it’s important to think of your child when reading the pros and cons. Only you will know if the bad outweighs the good when deciding to use money as an incentive for your child.

Pro: An Incentive

Many studies have shown that people will work harder when they’re getting something out of it. Money is a great motivator when you have something you need or want to buy. Paying students for good grades has proven to motivate them to work harder and get even better grades.

Pro: Help for Minority and Under-Privileged Children

It is well known that many children from minorities and under-privileged homes have a high drop out rate. 

Pro: Financial Freedom

There are a great number of students leaving high school with no idea about finances. If they really want something, they ask for it and sometimes get it. Much of today’s children believe that they can pretty much get whatever they want without having to work for it. Receiving money for grades shows them that they have to actually work to get something.

If parents work to lessen the things bought for the child that are wants, that child can then learn the value of their own money. They’ll discover that more expensive items can’t be purchased on that same day that they want them and begin to learn how to save. Parents should also encourage them to open up a savings account with the money they receive from their grades.

Pro: Job Training

The world works on the idea that you do a job and will get paid for it. Most schools work on the idea that students do their job and get paid with a good grade. This doesn’t always work for students. Giving them money in exchange of the good grade shows them that doing a good job has its rewards. This can be great for those students that really want a job but aren’t yet old enough to get one.

Con: Short-Term Solution

For many students, paying them for grades proves to be only a temporary solution to a greater problem. Different children do better with being paid for grades than others. A child who already has a desire to learn will continue to learn even if money is not involved. A child with no desire to learn will work harder simply for the cash, but even then the work may eventually outweigh the benefit for them.

Con: Morality

Many see money bribes as morally wrong, no matter how small the amount or what the amount is for. Setting your child up to accept money bribes now could prove to be detrimental in their near future. You never know what they might agree to next simply for the promise of cash.

Con: Money vs. Learning

As stated before, a child with a desire to learn will continue to learn even when money is not offered. A child with no desire to learn will only learn because of the reward offered. The work will end up outweighing the benefit in the end, and they will soon stop trying as hard. If you intend to use money as a motivator for your child’s schooling and you’re aware they’re not interested in learning anyway, be prepared to be forking out a lot of dough as they rise in education level.

Other Incentives to Try

If the pros just aren’t outweighing the cons for you, there are a number of other incentives you can try to encourage your child to get good grades. A child who loves to learn is going to learn regardless of incentive, but they likely only do well in subjects they enjoy. Consider offering an incentive from the list below for those subjects they tend to shy away from. If you have a child that doesn’t love to learn, these incentives might just give them that push in the right direction to love learning.

Getting Something for Grades

There are a great number of companies out there that offer rewards to students for good grades, and these rewards don’t involve money. Check with the schools

Special Dessert or Meal

Maybe your child has a special dessert or meal they love that you don’t get or make very often. Celebrate their good grades by giving them that special food item. It might just prove to be the motivator they need, and it won’t break your wallet either.

Go for a Special Trip

Take your child somewhere educational that he enjoys like a museum, the zoo, or a long distance trip. Not only will they learn even more, but they’ll have fun doing it. They’ll just think they’re getting rewarded for their good grades, and you’ll be happy to hear them spouting new facts they learned while out on their special day

Buy Something Special

Maybe you’ve caught your little one eyeing that new toy on the TV, or your teenager is itching for a new game for his console. If they bring home a great report card, reward them with a little surprise by purchasing that special item they wanted. Concerned about rewarding him with time wasters?  Just take him for shopping

Celebrate the End of the School Year

If you’re leery about rewarding your child every quarter with every report card, consider an end-of-the-year bash if they get good grades throughout the entire year. Let them pick out the meal that will be served at the party, and invite their friends. If the other parents are up for it, offer rewards for the children if they bring their report cards with good grades instead of offering party favors or prizes for games.

Final Note

A financial incentive might be just the thing for your child, or it might not be. It’s up to you to decide that as only you will know your child well enough to decide. Perhaps try it for one school year, and if it works, keep it up. If you notice your child starts to slack even with the promise of money, take away the money incentive and offer something else instead. The incentives listed above are just a short list of great ideas. Post your own ideas in the comments below.

by Natasha Quinonez

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