Friday, September 12, 2008

Paying kids for good grades

I have no idea how I feel about this, essentially the idea of rewarding kids for getting good grades is nothing new from a parenting perspective, however idea of it coming from local Government seems odd.

Apparently the Chicago local education authority is going to pay kids $50 for an A, $35 for a B and $20 for a C. The sceme is called "Green for Grade$". Apparently it is being funded with a $2 million pot from private sources not the taxpayer.
More in the Chicago Tribune

4 comments:

Surreptitious Evil said...

It seems to be an unnecessary expansion of state provision - but, it has to be said, better than their previous idea (I think that was also Chicago) of paying the teachers (as debunked by Steven Levitt.

Miss Snuffleupagus said...

Totally ridiculous! And I thought EMA was bad...

Not a sheep said...

With the rampant grade inflation in England this could be a "nice little earner" for most GCSE students.

Ken said...

No, in Freakonomics, Levitt's paper showed that if you paid teachers by results, what you would get, was cheating by some teachers. He didnt say that paying teachers by results didnt work, just that it caused some teachers to cheat.

This effort has not just been in Chicago, I know that NY under Bloomberg is also trying it out.

In the academic literature there is some debate about the effectiveness of paying teachers -

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=565174

is an example of where paying teachers worked in some measurable fashion.

Do we think it is a good idea? Well, paying teachers is probably more sensible than paying pupils. Why? Because the net effect is likely to be higher with teachers (who can identify the pupils that can benefit from extra effort), whereas a blanket offer to pupils will reward those who would always have done well and wont touch those who didnt pay attention at an earlier stage and are thus unable to do well enough no matter how much they try at the end.

But even paying teachers results in the usual problems - in the UK schools are under pressure to deliver 5 A*-C GCSEs. This means you drop the Us and Es and ignore the As and Bs and concentrate on those at the borderline.

The problem isnt a single exam, it is the effectiveness of the entire system, this cannot be solved with a small bribe for one exam, or even a big one.