Should Schools Pay Kids for Good Test Scores? (page 2)

Should Schools Pay Kids for Good Test Scores?

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Updated on Jan 25, 2011

This is not to say, she adds, that the department doesn’t want kids to love learning for its own sake. Rather, it is exploring the idea that incentives like the Spark program will offer a chance to try out and establish good habits for the future—to “cultivate that love of learning by lighting a spark.”

Longtime researchers like Stipek remain skeptical, however. “Sure,” she says, “everybody likes the idea of incentives because they’re simple and they look easy. But that’s not a long-term, real solution.” If we want kids to flourish for a lifetime, she says, we need to show them “strong educational commitment” all the way through.

In the end, whether they favor incentives or despise them, all researchers do agree on an ultimate goal: every child deserves to learn and achieve in order to move into productive adulthood. In a perfect world, this would happen without much adult push; and if you’re considering incentives for your child, it’s best to think of them as a last resort. But still, in the real world, can incentives help? Fryer’s researchers are working hard on that very question. Parents, stay tuned.

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