My parents never believed in paying us for good grades. They told us if we worked hard, we would be rewarded by getting to be involved in extra-curricular activities and do things with our friends.
I had plenty of friends whose parents did. And I admit, was a bit jealous of that at times. In the end I think my parents policy worked. There was something rewarding in and of itself of coming home and knowing my parents were proud of the grades I achieved.
The March issue of Newsweek takes a look at whether that’s the answer to helping students succeed. It doesn't just look at what famlies are doing, but what schools are doing.
The article focuses on the first long-term study of its kind, a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
According to the report, Texas high-school students who earned cash for passing Advanced Placement exams showed not only better GPAs, but also bumps in college attendance, performance, and the likelihood of earning their degrees. The effects were most pronounced among minorities, with African--American students 10 percent more likely to enter college, and 50 percent more likely to persist through graduation. The cost of administering the program was minimal: an average of $200 per student (which included bonuses and operational expenses). "If you have a million dollars," says Cornell professor Kirabo Jackson, the study's author, this is "a pretty good way to spend it." It gives cool-minded kids an alibi for success, he adds: "I don't like math; I'm saving for an Xbox.' "
Pay for performance is not a new concept . According to Time Magazine, “public schools in New York City have started paying students up to $50 for scoring well on standardized tests, and other school districts are experimenting with giving gift certificates to top-performing students.”
Well now you don’t even need your parents to be on board. There’s also now a web site that helps students capitalize on this idea. It’s called GradeFund.com.
This site lets students set up an account, then notify companies, relatives, friends, the works. They upload their transcripts and can earn money for earning certain grades. People or companies agree to pay whatever they like for grades in certain subject areas. For example, according to Time, “ZooToo.com, a website for pet enthusiasts pledged $15 to the first 100 students each semester who submit proof that they have earned an A in veterinary medicine.”
The company charges a 5 percent fee, they say to account for credit card transactions. And students are assessed a $5 fee if they withdraw money before they earn $100.
Some people argue students will just use the money to buy pizza or beer, but donors can set it up so the money goes directly to the college admissions office.
I’m curious what you think? Does paying for grades work? Or does it create more problems?
And if you pay your kids for grades, how much do they get?