Pay for Grades? How to do it Right
All parents would love to see their kids get good grades at school. But, is it the good grades they love, or, is it the effort put into obtaining the grades, regardless of how good they are? Such is the contention that many parents struggle with in deciding whether to reward their children for good grades. On one side of the debate, parents feel that kids should be rewarded for good results; after all, school is their job, and in the real world we get rewarded when we perform well at our jobs. The opposite camp feels that rewarding kids for something they should be doing any way diminishes the value of education and creates an entitlement mentality that could be harmful once they’re in the real world. Who’s right?
Research has shown the both sides have some merit, but it really comes down to the approach that is used. If students can earn a reward for achievement in a way that encourages effort over outcome, and promotes the value of an education, it could be a win-win. There seems to be some consensus that outright pay-for-grade schemes fail to achieve lasting results, which means kids see it primarily as a means to an end. But, when the reward is tied to a student’s effort in meeting or exceeding expectations, they tend to develop more of an appreciation for the learning process. Here’s how parents can have the best of both worlds in rewarding their kids’ school performance:
- Don’t offer cash as a reward. Instead, offer an experience, such as a trip to beach, or a night out with friends. Kids will remember an experience and appreciate it more than simply getting cash and spending it on something they won’t remember. If you can make it an experience they will enjoy with you, the better the memories.
- Always reward the effort behind the grade. If you see that your student spent extra hours studying for a test or writing an essay, make that the point of the reward as it will emphasize the learning process.
- Talk with your kids about their long term learning goals – what they would like to achieve in school; where they see themselves in the future; what they need to do in school to achieve their long-term goals. Then reinforce their goals when they are rewarded for their effort.
- Never lower the bar. If your kid fails to meet expectations, withhold the reward, but work on a plan together for hitting the mark the next time. If you see a greater effort being made, you can encourage them with a small reward along the way.