Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

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TNL
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Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by TNL » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:31 am

Hi Bogleheads:

Next year, our oldest child will begin receiving letter grades in school for various subjects. I have been thinking about setting up a system to pay him for As and Bs received on his report card to incentivize good grades and to set him up for success going into the junior high years.

I'm aware of the arguments and articles in the WSJ and NYT for and against. I am interested in hearing real life stories from real Bogleheads.

Some Back Story:

18 months ago, this child was struggling to pay attention in school and getting poor scores on his school work. He rarely finished any of his class assignments in class. He is in a foreign language dual immersion. His teacher pulled us aside and straight up told us, "Billy is plenty smart, and he has the aptitude to do the work. He's just not doing it." We evaluated him with a pediatrician and specialist and sure enough, he was diagnosed with ADHD and put on meds. Within 2 weeks, his in class performance had improved 80% and was getting all 3s and 4s (the highest you can get) and no more 1s and 2s. Putting some systems in place at home for afternoons and evenings, and a structured approach to homework was developed to get what needs to get done at home finished. A lot of kids who are diagnosed with ADHD also have oppositional defiance issues. Luckily, my son does not have any of that. He just lacks focus and direction, but when we remove the distractions and help him develop a plan of attack with school and homework, he accomplishes all of it with no help from us on the substantive part of the work (ie we do not help him with the answers or give him the answers).

So this brings me to the present question. I am thinking that a system where this child gets paid $10 for an A, $5 for a B, nothing for a C, and subtracting for a D would incentivize him to apply himself and do the work that we know he can do. Obviously, we'd have to do the same for the younger one too, when he got to be that age. I am aware of the arguments for and against, and I realize that this proposal may touch off a firestorm among Bogleheads. Honestly, if this child came home with straight As, I would love nothing more than to give him $60 or $70 in cash. Especially after how hard it's been for us to get a system in place that works and how hard he has worked to get where he is.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:32 am

Nope, don't do it. Never have. If anything, apparently I am paying for bad grades.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by DonCamillo » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:36 am

My children had college scholarships that paid for tuition and fees. I told them that my contribution to their room and board was dependent on their grades. With a GPA of 3.5, I paid everything. At a GPA of 2.0, they paid everything. In between was prorated. My youngest did not like that scheme and got a job as a Resident Adviser, which gave him room and board. So I think of my scheme as partially successful and partially even more successful. :D
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by mbk734 » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:49 am

School is like a job. It is their job to go to school, pay attention, and study when they get home. Some kids are more motivated than others. Almost anyone can get a 4.0 in high school if they put in the time and effort. If your kid doesn't have intrinsic motivation, I don't see why a little extrinsic motivation wouldn't help especially for high school kids that are desperate for money. I would also give a bonus for AP courses. I would only give a modest amount for a B ($5 or $10) and a decent amount for A's ($20) (final semester grades). You could also do it for only all A's or by GPA.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:53 am

DON'T. Sorry for shouting. Young children are economic beings too, and they will suss out how to get paid. We would sometimes give overt appreciation for a grade, but never in money. Something like a high five and a smile along with "I'm so glad that you're cooking with gas buddy."

We were lucky that the kids were in schools where good students didn't have to hide their light under a bushel basket. Good grades were not considered a negative as they are in some schools.

With one of the kids, we hired an "organizational consultant" during middle school to come to our house and organize the kid, and most importantly, work out a method to stay organized.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by HoopDiddyDiddy » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:54 am

I was never paid for good grades as they were expected.
My allowance, however, was docked for bad.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by market timer » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:59 am

We will soon be paying $15-25K/year in private school tuition. I hope that will provide enough incentive to take advantage of the opportunities he has.

My parents paid for grades and SAT scores. It was all-or-nothing, though--either get all A's or try harder next time. In today's dollars, I think the bonus was $200/quarter, and $2000 for getting 99th percentile on the SAT.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:01 am

mbk734 wrote:School is like a job. It is their job to go to school, pay attention, and study when they get home. Some kids are more motivated than others. Almost anyone can get a 4.0 in high school if they put in the time and effort. Or if they cherrypick courses and teachers, under-challenging themselves. DS, at Yale now, did not have a 4.0 in HS, nor does he have a 4.0 in college.

If your kid doesn't have intrinsic motivation, I don't see why a little extrinsic motivation wouldn't help especially for high school kids that are desperate for money. I would also give a bonus for AP courses. I would only give a modest amount for a B ($5 or $10) and a decent amount for A's ($20) (final semester grades). You could also do it for only all A's or by GPA.
This is a recipe for creating grade grubbers. Our kids knew that our family considered doing well in school to be "their job," but that the payoff would be down the road.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by RDB » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:03 am

I have not read any of the articles or research. My parents gave me around $300 for a perfect report card. I got a 4.0 in high school. I imagine I would have either way. I continued to get good grades through college and dental school without that motivation. I would imagine some kids will do very well no matter what, others will do poorly no matte what, some may need a little extra motivation.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by SDBoggled » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:26 am

Hi,

I never paid for grades, but then my kids only sporadically managed straight As, so maybe I should have :-)

Families are different, but IMHO kids can be very different within the same family.
I tend to fall on the side that: ideally, kids should be intrinsically motivated, leading them to choose college courses and jobs that they will enjoy. So far this has worked for 2 out of 3 with number 3 still a work in progress. This sets better with my values, rather than choosing a profession for $, status or other externally rooted reasons.

I hopefully shared the expectation of "demanding" effort and striving for excellence. Still working on number 3 where they have trouble meeting that baseline of effort.

My 2c is to be very conscious of the values that you want to instill and that can be done with or without paying for grades.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Rodc » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:04 pm

There are different philosophies.

I think in general it is a bad idea to pay kids to do what they should do. Chores, grades, good behavior.

First you want them to learn to be internally motivated. You don't want them to learn to only "do right" when they are rewarded. That is to say you want them to grow to be the sort of person who does the right thing simply because it is the right thing. There are many times in life where it is important to the right thing even if you are not rewarded (the good deed is its own reward).

Then there are simple practical issues. Grandma gives them a wad of cash for Christmas and they say no more chores (studying, etc) for me! Now you have to abandon ship and start in with "Do your chores because I told you so. " Better to have started with "We all have to do our chores, because as a family we all pitch in - that is just the responsible;e thing to do." Or in this case, "You study hard because it is important to learn, and it is exciting to master new skills".

Not to mention trying to work this out if you have two kids where school comes easily for one who is lazy and gets good grades anyway and another who is hard working but only get average grades. Not an impossible situation to deal with, but you have a mess to sort out that could have been avoided.

So, IMHO, it does not teach the best lesson and has practical implementation issues.

FWIW: I have two sons both with ADHD so I understand the issues you are dealing with. I still think this is a poor approach. My sons are in high school and one has pretty well licked the issue of getting his studying done, and we have pulled him off of his IEP. Boy two is improving, but still needs some support to get his work done.

The goal is to get them to the point where they go to college and can function independently - no bribes etc needed.

That said, if nothing else worked I might resort to paying even if in general I think it is a poor long term strategy.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by joebh » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:09 pm

Nope, never did that.

We never felt comfortable with the concept. I always imagined that once we started down that road, we'd never get off of it.

The last thing I wanted was a child who said "How much will you give me?" if I asked for help with something. I expected that they would study hard, do chores, help out around the house, and be kind to others because it was the right thing to do, not because there was a dollar sign attached to it.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by dbltrbl » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:23 pm

Nope. You want them to learn to do something because it is the right thing to do and not because you get paid for it. You can always reward them even with cash but not as a regular quid pro quo for good grades.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:28 pm

I would not do it, but then I am a follower of W. Edwards Deming.

Pay is not a strong motivator for most people (if they are fairly paid in the first place). Pay policies are a strong demotivator.

Your kids are not there to get good grades for you. It's for them. Work to have them understand that!

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Sconie » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:29 pm

I always did it with my two children. Never a system or formula as such, but in elementary, middle school and high school, if they came home with all As and Bs----especially As in the "tougher subjects"----I'd give them upwards of $50 to $100 for their report card. My philosophy was "pay for performance." Learning and achieving good grades was their job----and if they "performed," they deserved to be rewarded.

I don't know if it "worked" or not, but my son----age 33----is a patent attorney and just made "shareholder" status at the large law firm he is at. My daughter, age 28, is an M.D. and is just about half-way through residency. I am proud of their accomplishments. :sharebeer
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by delamer » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:33 pm

We did money rewards -- plus for good grades, minus for poor grades. We did not see any improvement (or decline) once that system was in place. One of our sons had ADD, and I think that the time lag between when the decision to buckle down had to be made and when the reward came was just too long to change his behavior.

I don't think that a reward system will hurt in a kid in the long run; after all, most of us who are successful at our jobs are that way because of a combination of the financial benefits and the intrinisic motivation to do well. But don't be surprised if it doesn't help either.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Rodc » Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:21 pm

Also, while I don't have a citation, if I understand correctly it is well understood that rewarding grades (with pay or just a lot of praise) has a lot of negatives. If you want to go down that route you reward hard work. And while you are at it, reward tackling hard courses not easy ones where the grades will be better, but less meaningful.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:35 pm

Absolutely not! We explained (as a previous poster stated) that school is their primary "job". We also explained that not doing their job well would result in "unhappiness" for them as the activities they enjoyed doing (eg, TV time, social activities with their friends, computer time) would be less frequently available to them. We also explained that doing an exceptional "job" would result in much more "freedom" for them and that they would be far happier as a result. We also made it clear that "school" consisted not simply of grades received, but also included participation in extra-curricular activities.

DS had some academic difficulties that genuinely concerned us through elementary school, but once he grasped the concept of school being his "job" and realized that his life experiences were enhanced by good grades and participation in other activities, he performed like a champ. As a result, he began to enjoy going to his "job" and taking on a lot more responsibility in his performance and his activities.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by TheEternalVortex » Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:49 pm

The main reason this doesn't work well is that the reward is too distant from the activity. I could see a financial reward working for something where you get the result right away, e.g. an instantly-graded test.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:29 pm

TheEternalVortex wrote:The main reason this doesn't work well is that the reward is too distant from the activity. I could see a financial reward working for something where you get the result right away, e.g. an instantly-graded test.
This is absolutely correct! The behavior being rewarded here is bringing home the report card--not earning the grades, which involves numerous behaviors over an extended period of time.

In addition, it assumes that money is an effective and powerful reward for the child, which may well not be the case. Not directing this at the OP, but I would guess that many people on the Boglehead site encourage their children to save. Even if this is only implied, it further reduces the effectiveness of using money as a reward.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by ram » Sun Dec 13, 2015 4:00 pm

We did it for both our kids from 2nd to 5th grade. At that point they did not have the option to pick classes. We gave for each A on their monthly exam. They both had excellent college admission exam scores. We did not do a double blind randomized controlled trial and so I can not attest to causation but we do have an association of paying for good scores in elementary school with good SAT/ ACT/ AP scores. (sample size =2)
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by dbCooperAir » Sun Dec 13, 2015 4:11 pm

We did not pay for grades or chores. We have always said good job, very proud etc.

About the time letter grades start (middle school) its a good time to start teaching kids to self advocate for themselves, this maybe more important than getting an A vs getting a B. By the time they get to high school they should darn near be self advocating for themselves completely, hence the grades they earn falls squarely on their shoulders and they understand the impact and what it takes to make the A.

Our kids ended up taking AP/Honors classes, just about a year of college credits under the belt etc. We are just starting the college years, ouch$$$$$.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun Dec 13, 2015 4:17 pm

I never got paid, though I wouldn't have minded - even if it would have bankrupted my parents. Anyway, they were paying for expensive private schools. They surprised me every once in a while with some random Lego purchases, which I still have. You'd basically be turning your kids into contract workers.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by ThatGuy » Sun Dec 13, 2015 4:42 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:Absolutely not! We explained (as a previous poster stated) that school is their primary "job".
This logic doesn't quite compute for me, and it seems to be repeated by several posters. If school is their "job" why wouldn't you pay them? A job is performed predominantly for financial compensation, otherwise 99.9% of jobs would not get done.

My child is not old enough to need extra motivation in school, but I like the idea of rewarding hard work with a special event or activity of the child's choosing.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:04 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:Absolutely not! We explained (as a previous poster stated) that school is their primary "job".
This logic doesn't quite compute for me, and it seems to be repeated by several posters. If school is their "job" why wouldn't you pay them? A job is performed predominantly for financial compensation, otherwise 99.9% of jobs would not get done.

My child is not old enough to need extra motivation in school, but I like the idea of rewarding hard work with a special event or activity of the child's choosing.
My experience is that to school-age children, "job" connotes hard work and responsibility--not pay. At least it has in my household. YMMV.

From a parenting perspective, rewards are a great idea for almost any desired behavior. However, imho they need not be overdone and, as mentioned previously, they must be well-timed to be effective and designed to reward the target behavior. Personally, I don't feel that showing up every six weeks with a report card in one hand and the other hand extended expecting a prize is a desirable behavior. Rewards come in an assortment of sizes and flavors.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by GerryL » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:10 pm

We didn't have a pay-for-grades scale, but when report cards came out my dad would often reward us. Trouble is, I might get a B and the rest As. My dad would ask (jokingly, maybe) "Why didn't you get all As?" I'd get a dollar. If my brother managed to keep all his grades at C and above, he also got a dollar.

Personally, I didn't need money to motivate me to keep my grades up, but I didn't like the unfairness of the situation. Have not had kids, but probably this experience would have helped inform any decision to pay for grades, I just don't know in what way.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by finite_difference » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:15 pm

If paying for grades doesn't work, then what does that say about capitalism!?
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:23 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:Absolutely not! We explained (as a previous poster stated) that school is their primary "job".
This logic doesn't quite compute for me, and it seems to be repeated by several posters. If school is their "job" why wouldn't you pay them? A job is performed predominantly for financial compensation, otherwise 99.9% of jobs would not get done.

My child is not old enough to need extra motivation in school, but I like the idea of rewarding hard work with a special event or activity of the child's choosing.
Because you are trying to foster intrinsic motivation. Pay is extrinsic, and is a very weak motivator anyway.

Rewards are fine, but I think you should do them in a way that reinforces the family. "Let's celebrate your good grades together." By giving them cash for grades, how are you really joining in?

As I said in a previous post, they are not working for you, they are working for themselves. It's their job because you are providing food, shelter, transportation, etc. Really, kids like to be challenged to excel.

When I was working, we (at times) had a ranking system for pay raises. Managers were required to rank their employees into quartiles. The lowest quarter got no raises (or were demoted or fired), the highest quarter did not get a particularly good deal either. It was incredible that every manager thought they could could correctly rank their reports, and the vast majority of employees thought they were getting screwed.

With my kids, this is a road I did not go down. In fact, it never occurred to me.

L.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:45 pm

TNL wrote:So this brings me to the present question. I am thinking that a system where this child gets paid $10 for an A, $5 for a B, nothing for a C, and subtracting for a D would incentivize him to apply himself and do the work that we know he can do. Obviously, we'd have to do the same for the younger one too, when he got to be that age. I am aware of the arguments for and against, and I realize that this proposal may touch off a firestorm among Bogleheads. Honestly, if this child came home with straight As, I would love nothing more than to give him $60 or $70 in cash. Especially after how hard it's been for us to get a system in place that works and how hard he has worked to get where he is.
We take the opposite approach. The kids get graded on O, S, and N scales. I tell them the S stands for "Spanks." However many Ss they get determines how many spankings they get. It's a little bit of lighthearted fun, but they've gotten the message that we have very high expectations for them.

I do buy them a toy if they get a hat trick in soccer though.

I think Chuck E Cheese still gives out tokens for As and Bs. That's the only payment I ever got for grades as a kid.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:46 pm

finite_difference wrote:If paying for grades doesn't work, then what does that say about capitalism!?
Why don't school systems just pay the kids to make good grades? Easy peasy :D

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by joeblow » Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:07 pm

We do not. We expect good grades and help our kids work hard to achieve them. We have yet to have poor marks on a report card, but if it happened we would look to find the source of the problem and devote the time/money towards fixing the root cause.

While I believe every situation is different, my only experience with kids getting paid for grades is with my childhood friends. One is a baggage handler for an airlines and the other is unemployed and lives at home with his parents at age 40. LOL!
Last edited by joeblow on Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by mouses » Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:07 pm

I am now remembering that my grandfather used to give me a dollar for every A I got on my report card. I had forgotten all about this. I didn't think of it as an incentive, more of a reward. I am not sure how to explain the difference.

I can hardly believe the $ amounts being tossed around in this thread. Inflation run amok.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by joeblow » Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:11 pm

GerryL wrote:My dad would ask (jokingly, maybe) "Why didn't you get all As?"
Funny, I had not thought about this for a while before reading this post. I'd come home with all A's and one B and get asked by my father "Why did you get a B?" I don't think he was joking. At least I didn't at the time. LOL!

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by joebh » Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:12 pm

GerryL wrote:Trouble is, I might get a B and the rest As. My dad would ask (jokingly, maybe) "Why didn't you get all As?" I'd get a dollar. If my brother managed to keep all his grades at C and above, he also got a dollar.
Seems like the economically sensible thing would have been to strive for all C grades, then coast (if money was actually the primary motivator).

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Impromptu » Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:20 pm

Each child may need an individualized rewards system for maximum motivation. It would have required effort for four of us to not get mostly A's. But the 5th was quite different, requiring extra help just to show up. But kids talk and that starts becoming unfair to the others.
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:51 pm

My recollection for my three boys is that when they, in middle school wanted to get paid for grades we said no... in part because we felt that they need to be self motivated... and need to develop toward adulthood... i.e. be able to understand they need to study for the sake of being prepared for HS and college.

In HS... when this came up again... We decided to pay something for an A, and something significantly more for a grade of 4 or 5 for an AP passing score. This was to give immediate reward, but to significantly reward the more advanced classes and sticking their neck out to take them... and we also reminded them of the extra benefit they have by being able to skip some classes in early college with good AP results.

We changed our tune a bit in HS because we felt that at times kids at that age can go into a slump... and my kids breezed through middle school with barely working at all. In HS two worked fairly hard, one did not. This was reflected in their AP classes results, and AP test results, and later the trend continued at the universities.

I do not really think the paying them made any real difference in the academic outcome, but it did brighten their life a little when they got their results on AP exams. It also gave us an excuse to put more money in their pockets, and therefore to discuss personal finance, investing, and savings.

The two that worked very hard did that more as a matter of pride and were self motivated.


The one who was less self motivated (still did ok... 3.5 gpa, and did as well in college but not off the scale academically great) did not work any harder due to the payment system we had in place. He was however more socially motivated, and it was expected that he would not study more than he did for any rewards we might add to his pot of motivators.

In the end, it did not, imho, change the big picture... but did add a little more "spice' to their lives, at a time when most kids really appreciate another form of positive reinforcement for doing the right thing.

I do NOT think all kids can get "A" s in HS... there is a bell curve in every aspect of native abilities, and we always tried to not make the kids feel they were competing with each other... because they tend to put too much emphasis on that type of competition already.

We also made it easy for kids to do more work to get more money... usually hard work that I might have to pay someone else to do.

M.

ThatGuy
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by ThatGuy » Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:07 pm

Leeraar wrote: Because you are trying to foster intrinsic motivation. Pay is extrinsic, and is a very weak motivator anyway.
Do you work without financial compensation, then?
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde

Norm C
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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Norm C » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:16 pm

We always told our kids that we didn't care about the grades, but always expected them to do their best. I wanted them to understand that hard work is what mattered, not somebodies opinion of it. Getting a "B" in a ridulously challenging course is just fine with me, as long as they're trying their hardest.

We started out not providing financial rewards, but abandoned it for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted them to have their own money so they could buy the things they wanted and learn how to handle money. Secondly, we support the "school is your job" and "hard work pays off eventually" schools of thought. It eventually dawned on me that expecting a five year old to wait 20 years for the payoff might not work. So for excellent effort, we reward. (Unfortunately, sometimes their are slacker friends get bigger rewards, and that is a morale problem.....)

Now we are in the last year of high school. The deal we have is that for every 4-5 on an AP test, we pay $200. An additional $300 kicker if they get 4+ on all tests. So I might be out $1500 in the spring. My thinking is that they're saving me many thousands in tuition, so they should get a cut of that. It's a reward for working hard and doing the right thing.

Off topic, but looking at colleges now. We've saved enough for full freight at a 4 year state school. That's the budget. If they can come in under budget, they keep the leftovers. If they go over, they're paying the extra. This really motivated them to (1) earn loads of AP credits to keep costs down, and (2) find excellent scholarships.

For our family, I think the incentives worked quite well.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:25 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Leeraar wrote: Because you are trying to foster intrinsic motivation. Pay is extrinsic, and is a very weak motivator anyway.
Do you work without financial compensation, then?
No. (Well, in fact I often do by giving advice to proteges.)

My point is that pay is a weak motivator to get people to work harder or better. Wanting to do a good job is much stronger.

I fail to see how paying a child to do what is expected can be a motivation.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Rodc » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:49 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Leeraar wrote: Because you are trying to foster intrinsic motivation. Pay is extrinsic, and is a very weak motivator anyway.
Do you work without financial compensation, then?
Interestingly enough, when you offer to pay people to give blood, donations go down. They are happy to donate when they are "doing good", but won't bother if it is just for pay. (except winos and such)

FWIW: I often work for no pay through various volunteer efforts. I would hope my children are learning this through watching and will someday do the same (they in fact have already started volunteer work of their own).

If I taught them to only work if paid I would have done them a disservice.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by ThatGuy » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:09 pm

Rodc wrote:
ThatGuy wrote:
Leeraar wrote: Because you are trying to foster intrinsic motivation. Pay is extrinsic, and is a very weak motivator anyway.
Do you work without financial compensation, then?
Interestingly enough, when you offer to pay people to give blood, donations go down. They are happy to donate when they are "doing good", but won't bother if it is just for pay. (except winos and such)

FWIW: I often work for no pay through various volunteer efforts. I would hope my children are learning this through watching and will someday do the same (they in fact have already started volunteer work of their own).

If I taught them to only work if paid I would have done them a disservice.
I guess my comments were a bit too terse, so I'll spell them out a bit. Volunteering is different from a job. I was strictly picking up on previous posters equating school with a job. Jobs place demands on the participant, and usually the recompense for these demands is financial.

Volunteering is not required, nor are there long term demands placed on the volunteer. There may be motivators which are stronger than pay stronger depending on the circumstances and the individual, but calling school a job is just silly vocabulary. It opens up the concept for a savvy child to demand pay for their "job".
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by tainted-meat » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:13 pm

My kid is too young for school but no, I will not pay for grades. I don't want her to think money is the only motivating factor to be successful. There are things like pride and love of learning that are far more important in my opinion.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by DaftInvestor » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:23 pm

I don't believe in it.
I've got one child who puts in a lot of effort and gets Bs and another that puts in no effort and gets As and occasionally gets in trouble.....so I should pay my troublemaker more because he does better on tests in school even though he is far less dedicated to it?
Many other reasons NOT to do this but this is my primary.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by e5116 » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:27 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
finite_difference wrote:If paying for grades doesn't work, then what does that say about capitalism!?
Why don't school systems just pay the kids to make good grades? Easy peasy :D
Chicago public schools actually DID do this in a program called "Green for grades." I think it was only for a select few underperforming schools, and students would get $50 per A, meaning a straight A student could get about $4,000 by the end... I think the program ended, however.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by surfhb » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:33 pm

I don't think people should be rewarded for the things that are required of them.

Good grades are just common sense

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by cherijoh » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:15 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:Absolutely not! We explained (as a previous poster stated) that school is their primary "job".
This logic doesn't quite compute for me, and it seems to be repeated by several posters. If school is their "job" why wouldn't you pay them? A job is performed predominantly for financial compensation, otherwise 99.9% of jobs would not get done.

My child is not old enough to need extra motivation in school, but I like the idea of rewarding hard work with a special event or activity of the child's choosing.
That's the rub. The OP is talking about rewarding his child with money for good grades which doesn't always correlate with how hard a child has worked. This is especially true when there is more than one child in the family.

For a child with concentration/organizational challenges, you could reward him with privileges that reward the behavior you want to reinforce - if they complete all homework assignments by x time, they can do something they enjoy before going to bed. Or If you complete your book report in advance of the deadline you can go to the movies on Sunday afternoon, etc. You want to incent the correct behavior - not have the kids skip taking an AP course because they are less likely to get an A in it.

There have been studies showing that kids who are told they are smart give up on a difficult task a lot quicker than kids who are praised for being hard workers.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Watty » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:31 pm

"...And thirdly, the Code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner." Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Part of what parenting hard is that there are few hard and fast rules about what is right and wrong so within reason you need to be flexible and figure out what works for your kid.

I think it would be best to not start out paying for grades but to keep it as an option if it is needed.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Steelersfan » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:09 pm

Didn't do it. Kids were smart enough, got good enough grades (although not tops), got into good colleges, graduated and two went on to graduate school. and all are doing very well in life.

Could they have done better in life with the motivation (if any) from paying for grades? I'll never know, but I doubt it. There are too many other variables.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by MtnTraveler » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:36 pm

My parents paid me for my grades till college and I am doing the same for my daughter. Neither I nor my daughter get/got an allowance so if you want your money to last you need to budget, do extra chores for extra money, or find a job. I actually use the same pay scale my parents did so if anything she is getting cheated with inflation. Each A = $25, B = $10, C = 0, D = -$10, F = -$25. At the start of each school year I draft up a "contract" that stipulates different rules she must follow and the consequences if she doesn't. We both sign it. I have no problem "paying" her for grades because in adulthood her salary will somewhat be determined by performance so if anything I'm helping her learn that if she wants to earn max dollars she's going to have to work for it. It's not for every family but it works for us. She is a good student and I think she would be even if I didn't pay her but I do see a bigger effort from her the last few weeks of each quarter to try to bump up any C's and B's.

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Re: Paying Kids For Good Grades -- do you do it?

Post by Zendelta » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:17 am

My parents didn't pay me or siblings for grades, although they did emphasize we were expected to work hard and do our best.

Occasionally we would get something we had been wanting for a while (in my case, a camera) at a major milestone. However they were also paying for expensive private schools like a PP's parents.

In my case they stopped paying for the expensive schools after elementary because I saw how much they believed in me (ie support for school and extracurriculars) and so I made it a point get the grades to win and accept full rides for HS and college to do my part. They were not the #1 academically most competitive schools but they were close, and I made that choice on my own. Didn't hurt my acceptance to a top 10 grad school for which I also took out loans on my own. I have also worked since I was 16.

Tl;dr version: no pay for grades -> engineers, a doctor and an attorney.

You know your kids best. If the incentive is properly coupled with the right messaging it may work. But cash for grades seems like the riskiest of incentive plans and as you have pointed out, you know the positions on it.

A couple decades ago, I saw a lot more smart kids who didn't apply themselves out of sheer boredom ending up skipping a grade, doing more challenging work, or even tutoring others instead of being medicated. There were pretty successful outcomes, too, given carefully managed social/peer group situations (ie no 12 year olds in med school). Clearly bogleheads also like to exercise our brains; I doubt there would be this level of engagement on the forum if the questions were about things like simple arithmetic. You sound like you have gotten a great support structure in place for your son's current needs; perhaps it bears reevaluating over time as his balance of medical/nonmedical needs may change.

Good luck.

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