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Should Parent Pay for Grades?

February 3, 2010
By Marge Eberts & Peggy Gisler

Question: We now pay our smart middle-schoolers $10 for every A and $5 for every B. They used to get mostly B's, now they usually get straight A's. Is there anything wrong with this? -- Paying for Grades

Answer: Of course, as you know, there are pros and cons on the issue of paying for grades; however, in your household it is working and everyone is getting the results that they are looking for.

If children buy into getting better grades because they want a reward (money, TV time, a cell phone), one positive outcome is increasing their skill in one or more subjects. This can lead to a feeling of accomplishment and can create a genuine desire to do well in school and an appreciation of learning.

Rewarding children for grades can backfire if children already have a desire to learn. They may begin to think that they are working harder primarily to get a reward rather than to do well in school. However, if children have little or no desire to succeed in school, rewards may get them on the path to doing well in school.

One caution: If parents expect rewards to improve grades, they must offer rewards for grades that the children can reasonably be expected to achieve. A child with good basic math skills could be offered rewards for A and B grades. However, the child with weak math skills should not be expected to get more than C or possibly B grades.

Question: My children are having a hard time in preschool and third grade. Is it possible that they have learning disabilities? -- Wondering

Answer: Here's a list by the Learning Disabilities Association of America that should give you a good idea of whether your children may have learning disabilities. If you have noticed several of the signs on the list in your children, they may have learning disabilities. Remember, all children will exhibit some of these signs from time to time. If, however, your children consistently exhibit several of these signs, take action to get them the help they need. The earlier help is received, the better.

Preschool

Have you noticed that your child has:

--pronunciation problems?

--difficulty finding the right word?

--difficulty making rhymes?

--trouble learning number, alphabet, days of the week, colors and shapes?

--trouble concentrating?

--trouble interacting with peers?

--difficulty following directions or learning routines?

--difficulty controlling pencil, crayons, scissors?

--difficulty with buttoning, zipping, typing skills?

Grade K-4

Does your child ...

--have trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds?

--confuse basic words? (run, eat, want)

--make consistent reading and spelling errors, including letter reversals (b/d) inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left) and substitutions (house/home)?

--experience difficulty learning basic math concepts?

--have trouble learning about time?

--take a long time to learn new skills?

--have trouble remembering facts?

Send questions and comments to Dear Teacher, in care of Mahoning Valley Parent, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-03295, or log on to www.dearteacher.com, or e-mail DearTeacher@DearTeacher.com.

 
 

 

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