2008-01-24

Paying students to learn

This is an old idea of mine that I have somehow forgotten to publish. It's good to know that someone out there had the same idea and is actually doing something about it:
A high school in the southern US state of Georgia is offering students who are weak in maths and science $US8 ($9) per hour to go to study hall and review their pet peeve subjects.

"We started on Tuesday - the kids are very enthusiastic," Mike Robinson, the principal of Creekside High School in Fairburn, near Atlanta, said.

Forty students - 20 from middle school and 20 high-schoolers - were selected on the basis of their poor grades in the two subjects and invited to attend two-hour remedial classes twice a week in exchange for money, which is provided by a private foundation.

Everyone who was selected was present at the first session, Mr Robinson said.

At the end of the 15-week experiment, a student who attended every session would be $US550 richer and able to do the calculation to work that out.

Those who maintain a 'B' grade average or better in math or science after finishing the course will be eligible for a bonus of $US143, leaving them potentially $US692 better off in total.

"You know, in our community, you have to be really creative to get some students interested," Mr Robinson said.

"I think this incentive is going to work."
Oftentimes when I was teaching, I would ask students - especially those in underperforming classes - what would happen if I paid them to do well in tests and exams. They all responded enthusiastically, as they would, since it offers them an extrinsic motivation to perform well.


2 comments:

BLBeamer said...

My parents used incentives also, but they did not involve money. In fact, their approach could more accurately be labeled a disincentive for non-study.

Dave Lankshear said...

"more accurately be labeled a disincentive for non-study."

Ouch.