Should You Pay Per Grade?

Friday, 23 January 2015

Should You Pay Per Grade?

A Facebook conversation the other day got me thinking about this. The question was about how much money should the parent pay their child if they obtained certain grades at school.

My immediate thought was nothing. I managed to pass my GCSE's perfectly fine without any financial carrot dangling under my nose. Surely you should want to get good grades? Infact I remember being really shocked that my parents bought me a gift after I received my grades as they were proud of me. (To be honest I think I would have got it no matter what grades I had got, as it was more of a you have worked hard present.) However, I had no knowledge I was getting it so it didn't affect how hard I had worked.

Having been a teacher myself, I know that lots of parents do this as an incentive, especially at GCSE's, but with other exams too. As a teacher I also know that most of the kids that brag about how much they will get if they get certain grades, probably haven't worked as hard as they should of throughout the year. Does this last minute bonus in a hope that they will do some revision make any difference on their score? I'm not sure.

So there you are. My answer is no you should not pay your child for each grade they obtain at GCSE as they should want to do it for themselves not for money.

Then I took big man to football. My friend and I sit outside with the kids while it is going on, doing homework. Her child is in year 2. She had done all her homework, but her mum was trying to get her to go the extra mile. "It's up to you, but you know you will only get extra stickers from your teacher if you do extra work." I sat there thinking,  I wouldn't bother for a few extra stickers love, you want some cold hard cash as an incentive! Which is when I realised that the whole topic isn't that simple.

From a really young age we use reward charts and reward positive behaviour with a treat. Is it any different to this? No. My husband works really hard in order to obtain his bonus. Same kind of thing. So is it wrong? No. It's a choice. Thankfully one that I don't have to make in the near future so can think about it more.

What is your view? Good idea or bad? How much would you even pay? Would you vary the rate depending on the ability of the child? Gosh I really hope that my boys just want to work hard for themselves as thinking about it all is just too confusing.

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13 comments:

  1. I used reward charts when the boys were small and I think they worked well to encourage good behaviour. Now at secondary school one of our boys is struggling a bit and we do reward good marks brought about through extra effort, not with money, but with a lot of praise and occasionally a small gift. Maybe a nice pen or a new book. I'll let you know in a few months if it is working or not!

    At primary school the teacher had a points systems for tests (and French children do a lot of tests). If a child got 18 or more out of 20 for a test they got a point and when they had 10 they could claim a small prize. I hated this system as I had 2 boys in the same class, one very academic who got lots of points and one less so, who never got many. There were no points for those who got lower marks, even if the marks were rising but not attaining that magic 18. This actually was a disincentive to one son. However the boys had a supply teacher for one term and she gave points when she saw extra effort had been applied or a few extra marks gained on a test. Guess what? Less academic son claimed points and his marks overall went up.

    As for your question about money for exams - no, I don't think it's a good idea. By the time children are doing GCSEs then I would hope they would be mature enough to realise that they need these exams and should try their very best what-ever, not to be hauled up to an extra grade by the promise of financial gain. By all means give a surprise gift afterwards but children have to learn to do their best by themselves and not purely for money.

    Sorry - long comment - it's something I have strong feelings about.

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  2. I have written about this subject before - I mostly encourage my children that the line that with hard work (and by going the extra mile) they are giving themselves more choices and opportunities in life. We talk about career and lifestyle aspirations. They know what it is like to always be on a tight budget and seen that some family members hate their jobs-having an easier life and a job they enjoy is quite an incentive. Having said that - I have recently started rewarding the children if they get a Headteacher's certificate or "Wow" stickers at primary level ( we have a weekly award ceremony) with small cash incentives so as you say, it's not that simple really.

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  3. My parents paid for my secondary education. This made me feel guilty if I wont do my best in school as my father is working days and nights just so I can have a nice future. I got to get nice NCEE (which is probably like your GCSEs) grade which made it easier for me to go to the university that I want to go. I got me a nice gift too, a watch. But I think that with or without that watch I would have work hard as I want to finish school and help my family financially. #pocolo

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  4. Good topic, and something I also struggle with. In an ideal world, they should work hard for the joy of having the privilige of learning, so they can better themselves, and hopefully, if the school is any good, because they genuinely feel motivated to learn, BUT, realistically, the way we live today is all centered on money. Like it or not, that is a reality. If they are going to get on in this system, where you need qualifications to get anywhere, then they need to get those grades, and if you have a spirited and strong willed child, bribery may be the only route open to you. Of course, it totally backfires, as it soon turns out to be a case of, "I cleaned my teeth, do I get a sticker?" but how else can you make a primary school age child realise the gravity of how important learning is? Yes we all want our kids to learn because they are inspired to, but sometimes they are just not inspired, despite our all singing, all dancing efforts! A little encouragement along the way in the form of a comic or small collectable item can certainly keep the mood sweeter and stop them falling behind. I wreckon,

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  5. Louise Fairweather23 January 2015 at 20:36

    I know! I was so black and white about it at first and now I am a rainbow! Gosh parenting is a tough job!

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  6. Louise Fairweather23 January 2015 at 20:39

    Don't apologise I love reading comments. Recognising effort is the key thing to me. I would also hope that my children want to do well, but even at 7 and 4, one does what he needs to and the other does more than he needs too. I figure this is likely to be the same in years to come.

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  7. Louise Fairweather23 January 2015 at 20:41

    Sounds that you had the attitude that I hope my boys will have.

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  8. Louise Fairweather23 January 2015 at 20:42

    So should we teach our kids to be less materialistic. Actually that is another post I have half written!

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  9. I didn't realise that people did this! What a ridiculous idea. I have to say that if Grace does well at school she might get a comic or something but I certainly don't bribe her with it. Fascinating subject. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo :)

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  10. Louise Fairweather24 January 2015 at 19:36

    Yep some as much as £50-100 for an A!!! Madness.

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  11. That is even worse!!

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  12. We are a long way off GCSEs. Honestly, I'd say whatever I felt would work. But I tried bribing my son with the promise of toys in advance of something for a while and I can't say it actually worked. I do reward him for effort or progress he has made after the fact occasionally though, and that does seem to be quite effective reinforcement. I suppose the problem is that as a parent, you feel a bit lacking in control over the situation. I expect the payment incentive helps you to feel you are having some kind of input.


    The reward for 18 marks thing is interesting. That's how I feel the current target based system in UK schools works, unfortunately. It's jolly depressing for everybody really.

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  13. Louise Fairweather25 January 2015 at 10:40

    Big man doesn't find a toy an incentive either. You are probably right about the control thing but they have to stand on their own two feet at some point.

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