Re Rebecca Fuentes
June 10, 2011
Believing and Doubting Grades Are An Effective Means of Motivating Students To Do Their Best Work
Motivation is what gets you going, keeps you going, and where you’re going. I do believe that grades are an effective motivation. Grading sends the message to students that the goal is to learn the material and retain it. Students with good grades usually see rewards for their accomplishments such as verbal/written praise, privileges, monetary awards, and exemption from assignments. In my experience, the rewards pushed me even harder to achieve good grades--to the point that I took risks; failure was not ...view middle of the document...
But, don’t colleges offer monetary awards for GPA and SAT scores, e.g. scholarships? Isn’t that offering incentives to get good grades and high test scores? In the business world, aren’t employees often paid for their performance in the form of bonuses and commissions? Grades are a motivation, but with other incentives as well for students to excel.
I am so relieved to be able to doubt this as well because I have a real problem with using grades
as the only motivation for students to excel. If we only use grades as motivation, low-achieving
students and students with disabilities will stay at a disadvantage. Schools usually reward
high-achieving students alone--the work of the less-talented student is seldom ever acknowledged. The
disadvantaged students, who work the hardest, have the least incentive to do so. The students who feel
unacknowledged, feel like failures or shamed. Some tend to show indifference; others become disruptive
and/or deceptive. Parents and teachers use negative reinforcements--bad grades, punishment, and loss of
privileges which keeps the student from attempting to get good grades due to fear of failure. If the basic
needs for students are not met, learning will suffer. Students need to feel like they belong and that their
efforts and abilities are being noticed. Students should be recognized on a level from where they are vs.
how far they have come; give updates on personal and behavioral achievement as well as...