Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Should Kids get Paid for Grades?

I am currently in a bit of a quandry about my kids getting paid for good grades on their report card. 

An In-Law who does this for the older kids (cousins in 5th and 8th grades) wants to do it for mine because it's "what they do, it's their thing."

I'm not really sure I agree with this philosophy and instead of speaking my mind about it and/or just putting the kabosh to the whole thing, I am using our grading system as an excuse. In our school system they do not use the traditional letter grades A,B,C,D and F but instead use a number system that even the teachers can't really explain.

I will do my best to explain what I know:
  • It goes by numbers 4 being highest and 1 being lowest
  • 4 is considered above grade level standards
  • 3 is considered meeting grade level standards
  • 2 is considered below grade level standards
  • 1 is considered way below but not necessarily failing
Seems pretty self-explanatory in theory (3 - 4 goood...1 - 2 baaaad) as I type this out, anyone would understand and I guess it's more of a pass/fail kind of thing now that I look at it. 

But there is one 
                       { little } 
  • These numbers do not go by percentages as a traditional grading system would.  THE END.
Don't worry if this makes absolutely NO SENSE to you - we all feel the same way here in po-dunk, I'm not sure if they are using us as an experiment or what, the town to the north of us has a regular grading system and I'm sure if I checked, so will the town south of us.

Both of my children get mostly 3's and a couple of 4's on their report cards.  Every once in awhile you will see a 2 but it's usually picked up by the next grading period unless it has anything to do with paying attention..they both seem to have a little problem with that, I can't ever imagine why!

A 4 is not considered an A because it's actually exceeding grade level not just excelling at the particular subject.  Children who consistently get all 4's on their report card are promoted to the next grade level.  We have a neighbor girl across the street who was promoted to fifth grade after completing third..or was she promoted after fourth grade to sixth?  Either way you get the picture.

So then a 3 must be considered an A since it's meeting grade level, right? 
Some parents will tell you that.  (I guess I could have told my In-Law that.) 

But Not on

There are no set percentages as far as how it's determined what number a kid gets so it's not like a 4 is 100-125% and a 3 is 80-90% as a typical ABC grade would be.. making ANY SENSE yet?  I'm sure I'm botching it up more than it really is because I don't get it.  At. All.  If I were the principal explaining this to you, it might make a little more sense.  Someone thought it was a good idea, it's been in our school system for 5+ years.

This should really be an outrage the more I think about it, and yet we as parents just put up with all the confusion, secretly wondering what grade our child would be getting if they were giving out grades.  It's almost like being in Stepford only without the tics and the wife factory. (That I know of anyway!)

I could have a discussion until I'm blue in the face about this and it still wouldn't make any sense.

I have had discussions with teachers who use it and don't really like it.  
Not sure whose bright idea it was but I'd like to find out just to see how smart they really are..

All of that nonsense aside, my kids are in first and third grades.  Are they really going to do better in school because they have a chance that they might get money? Wait, scratch that last statement..I just made it sound good for a minute there didn't I? 

Another set of cousins are in the same school system and so we the parents have been told to figure out what an A would be....but, thing is, see, there IS no A!!! (We have HAD that discussion numerous times..)

I really wanted to see if anyone else pays their kids for good grades or if your kids get paid maybe by a grandparent or other family member.  I never got paid for any grades - maybe I'm just bitter.  In fact, when in college and I made the honor roll, my dad simply told me I "should've been doing this all along" - maybe I'm just bitter.. I'm a very lucky girl, lucky girl.  

I don't want my children to expect something in return every time they do anything good..nor do I want them to get good grades simply because they are being paid but rather because they take pride in their work and want to get good grades.  Please, please tell me there is still something in doing the hard work and having something to show for it - you can't put a monetary value on genuine pride can you?  Honestly, I don't think the incentive of money would improve their grades at all....maybe when they are in 6th and 8th grade...I hear the middle school has the regular old grading system.


Bill said...

Whoa, I'm thoroughly confused. I've never heard of that kind of crazy grading scale before...ever.

makes sense though, a little bit, only after doing crazy drugs...

Kathy said...

I feel like an idiot because this is the grading system we have always had, even when I went to the same shcool my kids do now. And I'm 45! Although we don't jump kids who get all 4's, they just may end up in Giften and Talented, but that is not a given either. My kids are very spoiled by their grandparents and they each of their own issues with shcool. My oldest is dyslexic, my daughter has very severe issues and my little guy is in kindergarten with possible ADHD. When the children get report cards and we have had our confrences my parents will give a little money for their hard work. This year our son is in middle school with tradtional grades. He also has made the honor roll 2 sememsters and just missed for 1. We were all thrilled.

We always celebrate the children with cake and Yay! I'm so proud of you! At the end of the year we will get them a small gift. I don't know if that helps or just makes it more confusing! Lol! Glad the kids did well! Yay for them!

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Our kids didn't get "real" grades until 4th grade, and then it was a big deal. I wouldn't worry so much about trying to translate As, Bs, Cs, etc. Just give your kids a pat on the back and move on.

I absolutely DO NOT pay for grades and here's why. My expectation is that my children will get good grades (mostly As, but a B slips through every now and then). This is their capability. Someone else's children might not be able to pull those kinds of grades and their expectations might be different. But here's the deal--set expectations for your kids and don't waver and DON'T PAY FOR WHAT YOU EXPECT YOUR KIDS TO DO. I have found (my kids are much older than yours) that kids will rise to the occasion if expectations are set high, and they will feel great when they meet those expectations.

Furthermore, when they get out of the house and head to work, they will have a set salary. Nobody is going to pay them to go above and beyond, but if they don't meet expectations they'll be out of a job. Don't set their expectations to be unrealistic (i.e. I'll get paid more if I work harder.).

Don't cave. And please don't pay them for grades. :)

Keda said...

I can see why you are doubtful. First off, I like your school's system. Works on averages more or less... Anyway, I like it.
Thing is it is your choice, but once you make it, you need to say so.
Mine is only 2 years old and it is already a struggle to help her realise that doing stuff is not about mommy's approval or praises, it is about feeling good about what you did. This builds character in my mind. The up side of giving rewards is your kid might study. The down side is 2 sided: they might be trying to achieve something that really is above their potential, creating pressure and an immense sense of failure. The second part of that is that when their is no reward they will simply say stuff it. AND THAT is the person you are helping to build, the character you are forming.

But like I said, your choice.

Claire said...

New follower here:)
Love your site, and good debate...I think that taking them out for ice cream or something but getting paid might be a bit much.
I'll be checking back again soon,

RoryBore said...

My son is Grade 1 (here in Canada) and they don't use the traditional A, B, C, D, etc. I think it's because they aren't tested (i.e exams/essays/projects) in the manner of older grades.
As parents, we don't reward a good report with $$$ - but we will do a special acitivity with him (meaning noisy sisters not allowed). It's just meant as "way to go buddy, keep up the good work"'s not something major. Just recognition I guess you could say.
However, I am implementing a chore chart soon, and thus an allowance will also be given. Is this kind of the same thing? Not sure. I partly want the allowance because he is at the age now where he asks for a Nintendo DS - and we're a 1 income family - nay, nay. So I think he can start learning about money.
As for grand-parents, here's my rule: what happens at grandma's house - stays at grandma's house. My kids, even though young, know grandma is granted special privileges that do NOT happen at home. They are allowed a little spoiling -- just not to the rotten stage.

Terri said...

Oh my. I'm so old that I cannot even hardly remember elementary school and how my kids were "graded" but I am pretty sure we did not have the traditional A, B, C, D, E grading there either. I can tell you that as stressed out as I was about those "grades" in elementary school, and then into middle school...they don't really matter. Big secret that no one ever told me...once kids get to high school, those earlier grades are all wiped away, gone, non existent. So, please don't stress about the actual grades now. What you should be worried about is making sure you are encouraging them to learn to organize themselves. To try with their best effort to do well. To learn from their mistakes in forgetting to do homework or study/practice for a test. In fact, in might actually have been better to let them mess up/learn their lesson in elementary school and middle school, because their high school grades DO actually matter. Maybe I helped them too much in their earlier years. I set expectations, maybe a bit too high because I believe in getting A's myself or at least trying as hard as I could to get them. We made sure there were consequences, we took things away if they got a bad report card...thinking that would inspire them. I bugged them about getting their homework done on time, and properly, and to their best ability. I wanted them to do their best work, but.....what I wish they would have learned is how to want to do their best work themselves. Getting money for grades, in my opinion, does not make that happen. And what if they are not money motivated?....or what if they learn that in order to do your best work you always have to be motivated by something external, like money? There is a huge lack of motivation in the 17-23 year olds I currently see. Maybe my generation of parenting did something wrong....I wish you luck my friend.

Kim @ What's That Smell? said...

I thought that was just a lower grade level thing. Do they get letter grades as they get older? My nephew is in H.S. they MUST get letter grades, right? I guess I will ask him.

Jake always gets all 4's but he always gets a 3 in following directions. And I know why he doesn't get a 4. He is always trying to ADD to the directions LOL.

As for cash for grades. Nuh-uh. Jake does get a reward for keeping his grades up but it is usually some football cards or something. We talk to him, tell him we are proud of him for doing his best and then toss him a book or stickers or something.

Can't Help but Wonder said...

Well, I'm confused with the number system ..hahah...but here are my thoughts on paying for grades. I do not have any kids of my own yet, but growing up my parents did not pay us for good grades. My mom said that school was like having a job and greating good grades was like getting a paycheck. It was almost like my grades were my reward for my effect and hard work.

Anonymous said...

No way. I would never pay my kids for good grades: good grades are expected. Yes, verbal praise is in order and maybe a special activity day or something like that, but never a direct incentive on a grade basis. No way.

Arlee said...

My kids had some bizarre grading scale in elementary school too! I have blocked it from memory because it was so confusing. They used M, N, E or something strange. Thankfully in middle school it changed to a perfectly normal system.

My parents have given my kids money for their grades, but I never have. I usually take them to a movie or something. I guess I think of it as a special treat for all of the hard work they put in. I reward myself for a job well done with a new outfit or lunch with friends. As long as it is not the only reason they are getting good grades, I really don't think it is that big of a deal one way or the other!

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Shera Scott said...

Here is how it works at our house...I will try to make it simple.
Our daughter who is 11, does not get paid by us for good grades. Nor does she get allowance for helping around the house. But...her allowance comes from trying hard at school and having a good attitude. In other words, school is her job and if she follows the above rules she gets her pay. She happens to be a straight A student. But even if she wasn't and did her best with a good attitude she would still get her allowance. Her chores at home are part of being in a no pay. Nobody pays me to do the dishes or the laundry!
Her grandfather does give her a buck for every A she gets. She thinks it is fun and doesn't really get motivated by that. They have a good time and in fact last time he paid her in change! It was pretty funny, ziplocks full of quarters, dimes, nickels and lots of pennies!
Hope our situation helps.

Seasoned Air Force Spouse said...

I got stuck on the part where a family member wants to pay YOUR kid for grades. To that I'd say to butt out. It's not their kid or their business.

No matter how the grading system is, I think positive praise is good enough. I do allow more fun stuff to go on when grades are good so that's their 'bonus'. :-)

I love coffee too! is my blog if you'd like to swing by for something to read while you're sipping.