Should We Pay Our Kids For Good Grades?

Posted in Community, Financial News
March 7th, 2013 at 10:38 am by Ally

Should We Pay Our Kids for Good Grades? When it comes to compensating kids for good grades, the traditional thinking has pretty much been that learning is its own reward. And if not that, the actual good grades themselves are payment.

But in recent years, a new mindset has emerged: Why not give children financial incentives for achieving good grades? After all, in “the real world,” adults get paid for doing their jobs. In fact, a few years ago, some schools in Baltimore and New York City instituted programs to pay kids for improving test scores, while a couple of suburban Atlanta schools paid some students to attend an after-school “Learn & Earn” program.

If you’re thinking of reaching into your wallet whenever an ‘A’ grade lands on your child’s desk, there are some findings that may interest you.

A 2010 study conducted by Harvard economist Roland Fryer involved doling out $6.3 million to 38,000 students in 261 urban school districts. Various scenarios were tested, including paying students for each book they read or for every quiz they took or for achieving perfect test scores. Fryer’s conclusions: In some cases, paying for good grades had no effect whatsoever.

Fryer, though, did find a way to get some positive results by paying students. “Kids who got paid all year under a very elegant scheme performed significantly better on their standardized reading tests at the end of the year,” explains Time. “Statistically speaking, it was as if those kids had spent three extra months in school, compared with their peers who did not get paid.” Fryer concluded that simply paying for grades alone didn’t necessarily work, since the students might not know how to get the grades. On the other hand, “Paying students to do things they could control – hand in their homework, read, dress better – did indeed bolster these activities,” explains Fast Company.

Keeping those results in mind, if you’re thinking about paying your kids for good grades, we found some thought-provoking insights on the issue:

The endgame

Once you start paying your children for good grades, how long will you keep paying them, wonders Time. After all, this practice can get expensive after a while. Plus, if you stop paying them, will their grades fall? Adds Kiplinger, “If you go the ‘paycheck’ route, you have to keep raising the stakes – and once kids are old enough to earn their own money, you lose leverage.”

High grades vs. a good education

“It may be difficult for children to recognize the long-term impact of a good performance in school when they’re only anticipating their next ‘paycheck,’” notes Time. Thus, parents may need to ask themselves whether any benefits of paying kids for grades compensates for the possible disregard for education itself.

Reward alternatives

“Recognize that motivating your child with the promise of a shopping trip or day at the amusement park in exchange for good grades may have the same effect since these items are still associated with a price tag,” notes Time.

The going rates

If you decide paying your kids for good grades is the way to go, you may want to know what other parents are paying. A recent Harris Interactive poll conducted on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs concluded that $16 per ‘A’ grade is the average going rate.

Have you ever paid your kids to get good grades? What was the pay scale?

Responses to this post (17 comments)

  1. 4/16/2013
    10:19 am
    poini iongi says:

    why pay there just paying kids but what if they cheat on the quiz or homework and more

  2. 5/1/2013
    11:37 am
    school says:

    i wouldnt beacause kids need to motivate themselves

    • 11/20/2013
      1:05 pm
      Student says:

      Well what if they are not motivated to work? What will motivate them, punishing them? Do you think that is the right way to motivate your own children?

  3. 5/1/2013
    11:38 am
    school says:

    they could get answers from friends i would only pay kids for doing chores

  4. 5/9/2013
    1:02 pm
    me says:

    they should becuase for they can keeep learning

  5. 5/10/2013
    12:48 pm
    touriana says:

    i think as a a student we should get paid

  6. 5/13/2013
    11:50 am
    CAT3603 says:

    As a student we should not get paid because it is not right
    we should do our best.

    • 5/15/2013
      1:14 pm
      Ally says:

      Thanks for your response!

      • 10/17/2013
        10:43 am
        student says:

        I would like to pint out that the Harvard expirement does not give refrence to the payment the students receive for their grades.

  7. 2/24/2014
    2:07 pm
    Haley says:

    I think it could motivate them, but you would have to make sure you paid a little at a time, don’t pay a lot every time, make them work their way to get more.

    • 2/25/2014
      4:51 pm
      Ally says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Haley! That sounds like a great way to get them motivated, and keep them motivated!

  8. 9/29/2014
    10:11 am
    sierra says:

    why should people take money out of their wallet the school should rely on the money not the teachers because they have a family to feed or a house but if they don’t have money they will be poor

  9. 12/18/2014
    3:16 pm
    Student says:

    As A Student It depends on the child tbh cause paying me would work but only for so long…

  10. 1/20/2015
    1:52 pm
    rgh4igu says:

    not helpful

  11. 2/18/2015
    8:03 pm
    melody says:

    I need more information for my speech what is the % of kids getting paid for good grades

  12. 2/27/2015
    1:28 pm
    melanie says:

    i think its good cause kids who have good grades try hard in school and all the lazy people just sit around so they should get paid

  13. 3/3/2015
    12:30 pm
    Rashunna says:

    I’m a student and I think we deserve to get paid , especially for those Of us who already have excellent grades

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