Pay For Grades

Imagine being able to buy that pair of shoes you have been wanting with the money you got from getting an A on your test. Some schools across the United States have been doing experiments about whether or not students should be given cash due to good performances and behavior. Only one out of four Americans say that students should be paid for good grades, but studies have shown that students getting paid for good grades improves test scores, attendance, and behavior. 

Studies in Louisiana done by the MDRC have shown that cash incentives encourage students to continue going to school. An article states that, “…participants who were first offered cash incentives in the spring of 2004 were also more likely than their peers to be enrolled in college a year after they had finished a two term program” (Fitzpatrick). Most students today are struggling in school, as a high school student I know more than a couple people who actually suffer from anxiety because of school. Students need something to motivate them to get out of bed and be excited to learn. Fitzpatrick also continues to say that students who were involved in the studies of getting paid for grades had psychological benefits and stated that they felt more “positive” about themselves and their goals for the future. These students realize what a positive outcome that the cash incentives have. When these students are motivated and have a goal to reach they develop healthier studying habits and make hardworking a part of tpeople heir lifestyle. These studies have been very successful and even though some people see it as bribing others see it as helping people live a better life. Arnel Cosey, an assistant vice chancellor for student affairs says, “If that’s what we need to do for these to reach these goals, which ultimately will lead to them having a better life, I wish I had more money to give” (Fitzpatrick).  Even experts in dealing with students agree that the positive end result is worth the resources. 

Students who get cash rewards are impacted in a reasonably positive way. Levitt, List, and Sadoff,  a group of researchers who involved parents and students in their study as well as fluctuating kinds of rewards, chose four random groups of students and parents who qualified for the incentives  to do their research on.They noted that ” …those affected only last two years. In the second year, students who had been on the verge of meeting standards were still performing 12 percent better than their peers who haven’t received any cash incentives.” (Robinson). Students who qualified for the incentives had about five more percentage points than their other peers. Students from low-income families that get paid for good grades have the ability to learn what it is like to be paying for their own things and be successful in the future which was proven when “…cash incentives combined with counseling offered ‘real hope’ to low-income and non-traditional students at two Lousiana community colleges” (Fitzpatrick).Cash incentives would be great for low-income students who are struggling to come up with money to even stay in college, even though it wouldn’t be a lot it would still give the students who are probably working full-time jobs, some relief of having to worry about student debts. 

  With our economy today cash incentives would be a partial help to these students’ lives, and instead of having to worry about having to pay for college they would be able to dedicate more hours to their studies. Professor Edward Deci from the University of Rochester states that students “perform better and work harder” when the task or assignment has piqued the students interest and is going to be applicable to their lives. When students know there is going to be a reward they are determined to do their very best to reach their reward but also achieve the goal of having good grades.

Cash incentives can be part of a solution to lead kids to have better lives. Fryer, a Harvard economist, did an experiment where he used mostly “private” money to see how cash incentives worked in hundreds of different classrooms in multiple cities. “ Kids who got paid all year under a very elegant scheme performed significantly better on their standardized reading test at the end of the school year,” says Fryer. This study goes to show that cash incentives do work, it’s like a win-win situation for the students because they get cash  and teachers because the amount of students passing their class goes up. “Statistically speaking, it was as if those kids had spent three extra months in school, compared with their peers who did not get paid”(Ripley). These statistics prove that cash incentives help students improve in their work, students who did not get cash incentives were clearly less motivated, which is understandable, especially when they know other students around them are getting paid for the same thing they are doing. Lastly, Amanda Ripley, from Time Magazine states that, if incentives are diligently designed it is more likely to improve a higher amount of students performances for only a fraction of the cost. 

Though some people may argue that students should not be getting paid for something they are required to do, and bribing should not be a form of encouragement, the outcomes of cash incentives have been amazing.  Cash incentives have motivated students to become hard workers and have given the students an idea of what the real world would be like. The incentives have also encouraged students to continue going to school and can be a great solution that will lead students to have more successful careers. If cash incentives continue on in the future it could improve employment rates in the United States and bring students and their families out of the lower class. Cash incentives are  not only a great idea for encouragement and motivation but a great idea for America as well. 

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