I have wondered a lot about this and I am generally against paying for grades,
but on the other hand thats what scholarships are largely about. So I
can't make a general statement that all money for grades is inherently bad.
I think the amount paid can make a big difference. A few dollers for an A is
one thing a hundred is a huge amount. A bonus at work for doing above average
is a welcome surprise, a little something for trying hard is a nice reward. My
kids (grade schoole 15 years ago) got a doller for an A with a $5 bonus for
straight A's. This was also offset for any minus marks in citizenship.
We have adopted a 'mommy scholarship' plan for our kids HS and
university grades. For a 4.0 GPA in HS we pay 100% of the tuition, room &
board (not covered by other scholarships, grants or awards) for the first
semester at university. A 3.9 earns 90%, 3.8 80% down to a 3.1 which earns
10%.After each semester in college we apply the same criteria to the
last semesters grades for the next semester. That has worked fabulously for us.
I one hundred percent believe in paying for grades. For me this is training
your child for the real world. If they work hard they will be rewarded for it,
and in the real world most of the time this means more money. If they
don’t they will get nothing. $100 is excessive. I pay about $5 for an A.
I have seen my child really try to get an A so he can get the reward. The
“love of learning” will come later.
To each his own. My kids have all gotten at least 3.8 or higher all through
highschool and we've never paid them a dime for any grades. The reward for
them is a job well done.
It is not that hard to get straight A's, just take easy classes.I
give my kids $500 for a 3 on the AP test, $1000 for a 4, $1500 for a 5.they do not always have a 4.0 but they learn alot and get college credit
It is the message that comes with the money that is important here. Does the
reward show appreciation for a job well done, or is it just a pay off so parents
don't feel guilty for not being there for their student? Furthermore, can
this be another teaching moment for the child to budget appropriately a $100
reward, for their own future schooling needs?
Very thought provoking article, thanks! I appreciate the idea of pointing kids
to the long term consequences of todays actions. One thought I have is, whether
we decide to pay our kids for grades or not, somehow I think we ought to find a
way to celebrate the effort of doing daily homework much more than the actual
grade/outcome. I would be far happier with a child that tried hard and got a
mediocre grade than a child who sailed through a class with little effort.
Using BOTH the long-term and short-term incentives seems to be the best way to
go. You can explain the lifelong income potential for those with college and
professional degrees as the long-run motivation AND use a modest pay scale for
good grades as a short-term motivation. There is nothing inconsistent with using
both a long-term and a short-term motivation system. Both prepare kids for the
real world ahead of them.
I think the key is understanding what motivates your children, and finding a way
to help them see the benefits of academic achievement so that they're
motivated to do better. Money may work with one child, but another may be
entirely demotivated by money. I have a daughter that has a very
rich imagination, is very intelligent, and who hates the very idea of money,
shopping or any sort of financial compensation... which I admit sounds weird,
but she's also a very good student on her own. Offering her money for
grades would only insult her, and I suspect she'd purposefully tank just to
send me a message. ;) Of course I have another daughter who does
pretty much anything for material rewards. She would probably benefit a lot from
the suggestions put forth in this article, because she wants to spend now, be
with her friends, and sees no longterm benefits to boring things like homework
My parents paid for grades, but not consistently. My older brothers got $5 for
each A they brought home, but somehow by the time I got to middle and high
school that system was no longer utilized. But I never felt like I should be
paid for my grades. I always felt like the high grade itself was my goal, and I
always felt good about myself seeing the report card. I probably did get paid a
few times early on, but it was never a standing thing (which is probably good
because I wasn't always the best student.) I will say that part of my
motivation to keep my grades up was to help keep my car insurance down through
the Good Student discount...I'm probably not on the side of
paying for grades. I think kids today need to understand that their education is
more valuable than the money they'll receive for it. However, I DO think
parents need to acknowledge their kids' academic successes and always
The problem is that the kids that will benefit the most from being paid for
grades come from families that cannot afford to pay them. Our education system
funding needs to be revised to spend less money on various kind of nonsense, and
more money to encourage kids to get good grades directly. Set the standards high
enough so that it does not break the bank while giving kids an immediate reason
to study hard. It should work like this - there is a test that is the same for
everybody everywhere that IS NOT MADE BY THE SCHOOL THAT TEACHES YOU, like an AP
test. You get paid in proportion to what you get. It is your job to learn the
material. You can go to a public school teacher, you can go to your friend, you
can hire a tutor, or you can learn online, just come prepared and ready to roll.
This will teach that real knowledge pays, while negotiating your grade with a
teacher does not.
The guy up there who based paying college tuition based on grades made the most
sense to me.
We have always paid $2 for an A and rounded it up to $20 for a 4.0. It is not a
huge incentive, but it is a nice recognition for a job well done. Our four kids
have earned 3.7+ gpa. If I had a child that had to work hard for a B average I
would find a way to reward that positive effort.
A Pavlov's dog approach to parenting won't work. These parenting
philosophies are dangerous carryovers from the 50's, 60's and
70's that do more harm than good.We have five 4.0 students in
the family, from grade school to college, and have never paid for a grade.
Instead of paying for grades, set high expectations, create an environment where
they can do well (quiet study space, help them learn to plan and manage their
time, allow them to prioritize, teach them they can do difficult things by
setting the example and not letting them off the hook, provide positive
encouragement and feedback, etc), and certainly never make excuses for them to
teachers and others when they make mistakes. Finally, don't focus on
grades. It is MUCH more important that they learn to work hard and be
disciplined, than if they get an "A".When you pay for
grades, grades instead of learning become the focus and money or material things
the reward. The reward should be personal satisfaction. The material and
monetary rewards are natural consequences of hard work and value creation that
will follow those good people who do things well.
When my children were young and personal computers were new, I wrote program
called GRADE$, which rewarded them for their work. It was easy for them to use
on their own and so every Saturday morning when the latest He-Man, My Little
Pony, GI Joe, Barbi, etc was advertised, my kids would asked me for it. I would
tell them they would have to see what grades they would need to get it and off
they would race to the computer. GRADE$ evolved over the years. What I called
"Core" classes (Math, Science, Languages) were worth more. The concept
of GPA was introduced. Straight As were rewarded, etc. All of my children
received scholarships and so from personal experience, I think the idea of
rewarding the kids for their efforts has merit. My sons apparently liked the
concept, as well. They have developed it into an app for the iPad/iPhone. Their
version is far more robust than my modest efforts. Like my original program,
their app is also called GRADE$. It seems to be working for their family as
Ebed,That comment was an advertisement. I am glad that $ rewards
worked for you. In most cases I think it is a bad idea. Loosely connecting a
reward to doing well in school seems to be less detrimental. E.g. "you
worked hard in school this year and got good marks. That must feel pretty good.
Because you did such a nice job, I think we can help you get that iPod (or
whatever) you would really like. If you contrIbute "x" dollars,
we'll pay the rest.This leaves the reward of personal
satisfaction of a job well done as the primary reward, but shows that you
appreciate their efforts and want to support them.
I don't beleive in paying a child for getting good grades. It shows the
child that money is too important and if you study hard you get a bigger reward
when you go to college. My son from my second marriage got full tution and all
cost covered. What I did for my son was when he graduate from high school I gave
him a 2 year old pickup truck so he would be able to go on to college and when
he went to law school it was all expense paid, but the books and housing which I
took care of, and it wasn't for getting good grades, it was for helping him
and my daughter in law out and today he holds the bar for Washington, D.C. and
South Carolinia that was his reward for working so hard to get were he is today.
I really enjoyed reading the different strategies that parents use to motivate
their children. Even Sally's friend was being motivated,despite the
authors'dissagrement. Families and people are different, it is
wonderful to see the concern and appreciation for education on the part of
My son just finished 8th grade with a 4.0 every quarter. Working hard
academically is important to him, and he feels the intrinsic satisfaction that
comes from that. When school ended, he had his eye on a sleeping bag for scout
campouts, but lacked the funds. I told him I would purchase it for him because
I was so impressed with how much effort he had put forth that school year. I
believe he saw this as a bonus, rather than as an expected reward. Whether
you're an adult or a kid, it's nice to be rewarded occasionally for a
job well done.
I have to feel sorry for parents who think they are responsible and accountable
to provide higher eduction and financial incentives for their children to be
good honest working citizens of their community. I do not beleive in any kind of
monetary reward system for any reason work related or personal. People or
children expecting rewards for their achievements and getting a good job and
keeping a good job are the seeds of greed that serve no good purpose or
achievable reward. Training children to be greedy is what everyone here has
talked about so far and we don't have a clue why greed and corruption has
become our way of life. Overbearing parents are more of a problem in society
than poverty which is a good teacher.A childs reward is their
personal achievement, paying them to go to primary school or college is a waste
of time and money and they will never amount to anything. At the first sign of
social dysfunction they are dead beats back home living in their old rooms off
of your pensions expecting some more reward money.
I don't believe in paying for grades. I am glad my parents didn't pay
for my As. I had many friends who were paid, but my self-esteem grew with each
"A" I earned because there is just something about doing the best you
can that is what life should be about. I did go on and receive a graduate
degree, and life is financially rewarding due to that degree. But it is the
difficulty of the work that I do and knowing that I do it well that
"feeds" me; not the paycheck that I earn.