Rewards for Learning
Here’s a more interesting New York Times education article, this one about rewards for student achievement. I have some comments:
- I can see why the programs paying for good A.P. scores haven’t met with much success. A student’s grade on an A.P. test is dependent on how well he or she learned to read and write years before. You can’t take struggling students who lack basic skills and get them to do college-level work just by offering some cash.
- There are ways to reward students without sending the message that learning is a chore. Younger students could choose a more challenging book or math game as a reward for completing a lesson; older students could work on a self-directed research project that interests them. Those kinds of rewards are effective at the individual level, but they’re hard to put in place across entire schools for a randomized trial.
- One strategy is to ask the students themselves what would motivate them.