Should You Get Rewards for Good Grades?

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Want a free pizza? How about movie tickets? Or cold hard cash? Many parents—as well as some schools and stores—offer students rewards for getting good grades on their report cards.

Some people say rewarding students gives kids a goal to work toward and a reason to study harder. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that elementary school students scored better on tests when they were promised a trophy.

But not everyone is ready to hand out prizes. Many educators say rewards send the message that grades are all that matter. They argue that hard work is also important to a student’s success. Plus, they say, these rewards aren’t fair to students who have improved their grades but still don’t get A’s.

Here’s what two of our readers think.

What’s wrong with giving rewards to encourage kids to do their best? When I do well on my report card, my parents sometimes take me to the arcade or to my favorite restaurant. A pro soccer team near me even offers free tickets to kids with good grades.

Rewarding kids for high marks helps to motivate them. Sometimes I’d rather play video games or watch TV instead of studying. But knowing I might get a reward reminds me to focus on my schoolwork instead.  

Knowing you did well in school and that your hard work paid off is enough of a reward. It shouldn’t make you think “Now I’ll get some free stuff.”

Plus, promising prizes for good grades can put extra pressure on kids. Some might even be tempted to cheat. And knowing that they missed out on a reward might make kids who get a bad grade feel even worse.

Kids shouldn’t expect to get a prize for everything they do well. This could make them greedy.

What do you think?
Should you get rewards for good grades?
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