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Education Experimentation

Experimenting with Education


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tacomancer

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I just read an interesting article on Time about paying kids for good grades or other performance

Pay for Grades: Should Parents Bribe Kids in School? - TIME

This leads me think, if we are ever going to improve our education system, we are probably going to have to scientifically experiment on populations and find out what actually works instead of relying on things like "common sense", politics, or other unreliable drivers.

However, I wonder if doing this is unethical.

What is your opinion, good idea or bad idea?
 

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i think its a bad idea, for two reason, first one being, if they'd done that when i was at school, i'd have ended up owing money, and second, i think it could lead to various problems in later life, such as them becoming more demanding for pay rises etc. in later life, which could lead to unemployment for some, and perhaps bring about a "what's in it for me" sort of mentality, which could not onlyu make 'em lazy, but leave altruism laying in the dust.
 

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It's a bad idea, an education should be treasured, and made the most of. Not something that kids do only to make a quick buck.
 

tacomancer

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i think its a bad idea, for two reason, first one being, if they'd done that when i was at school, i'd have ended up owing money, and second, i think it could lead to various problems in later life, such as them becoming more demanding for pay rises etc. in later life, which could lead to unemployment for some, and perhaps bring about a "what's in it for me" sort of mentality, which could not onlyu make 'em lazy, but leave altruism laying in the dust.
I agree that it could lead to problems later on. The research himself points a few potential problems actually. However, I still wonder if group experiments are the best option. There is a possible breakthrough in that approach which could make us a much better educated population. That would create all sorts of economic benefits as well.

It's a bad idea, an education should be treasured, and made the most of. Not something that kids do only to make a quick buck.
For some education is valuable on its own. For others it is a means to an end. I cannot objectively tell which is better.
 
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fredmertz

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I'd say there is no one answer. Each child is different. If you are trying to push a kid w/ good grades who tries a little but could try more, perhaps this is the right motivation... so long as you believe they already understand the importance of getting good grades. But for a child who really just doesn't care, if you offer them money, then getting that money will be their only motivation for getting better grades - which shouldn't be the true driving force. It should just be a reward for succeeding with a more 'true' driving force: Their future.
 

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I like the way that was done that got the results. My middle school had a similar program to the reading incentive one in his experiment. We had a program where there was a list of books that we could read (most could be found in the library), and there were tests available on computers at school for those books. You got points, determined by the complexity of the book, for passing the test. These points would accumulate for all the tests you passed and could be used to get school supplies and small toys from the English teacher in charge of the program.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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I just read an interesting article on Time about paying kids for good grades or other performance

Pay for Grades: Should Parents Bribe Kids in School? - TIME

This leads me think, if we are ever going to improve our education system, we are probably going to have to scientifically experiment on populations and find out what actually works instead of relying on things like "common sense", politics, or other unreliable drivers.

However, I wonder if doing this is unethical.

What is your opinion, good idea or bad idea?
Bad Idea/Rootabega.

You can teach children to want to enjoy learning, you don't need to pay them.
Using money as an incentive is just laziness.
 
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Jucon

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IMO some kids are too near sighted. Many do not see the full future value of a good education when they are so young. Especially when the rewards of a good education aren't realized until later in life.

Just look at exercise. Because some don't see an immediate result, it's hard to stay motivated.

I wouldn't be against this idea, since money can really motivate people to do better... but I'd rather see students get some kind of prize or privilege instead of money. Maybe earn the right to take a Friday off? Sometimes grades alone aren't a good enough reward.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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IMO some kids are too near sighted. Many do not see the full future value of a good education when they are so young. Especially when the rewards of a good education aren't realized until later in life.

Just look at exercise. Because some don't see an immediate result, it's hard to stay motivated.

I wouldn't be against this idea, since money can really motivate people to do better... but I'd rather see students get some kind of prize or privilege instead of money. Maybe earn the right to take a Friday off? Sometimes grades alone aren't a good enough reward.
You'd may be surprised but parents are the absolute number 1 reason of why a child does well in school.
Parents have to believe that education is a worthwhile endeavor and children take their cues from the parent.
 

Jucon

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You'd may be surprised but parents are the absolute number 1 reason of why a child does well in school.
Parents have to believe that education is a worthwhile endeavor and children take their cues from the parent.
Oh I agree. But clearly many parents are failing their kids.
 
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Jucon

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I agree, I'm not sure that monetary rewards will have a lasting impact that we desire.
I think initially it would work but over the long run, the results would taper off.
We get money, raises, bonuses, and time off based off of the quality of our work at jobs. I think paying / rewarding kids to do well in school would more closely simulate what the real world is like. Like I said, grades alone aren't a good enough motivator for some.
 

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i think its a bad idea, for two reason, first one being, if they'd done that when i was at school, i'd have ended up owing money, and second, i think it could lead to various problems in later life, such as them becoming more demanding for pay rises etc. in later life, which could lead to unemployment for some, and perhaps bring about a "what's in it for me" sort of mentality, which could not onlyu make 'em lazy, but leave altruism laying in the dust.
It's a bad idea, an education should be treasured, and made the most of. Not something that kids do only to make a quick buck.
I'd say there is no one answer. Each child is different. If you are trying to push a kid w/ good grades who tries a little but could try more, perhaps this is the right motivation... so long as you believe they already understand the importance of getting good grades. But for a child who really just doesn't care, if you offer them money, then getting that money will be their only motivation for getting better grades - which shouldn't be the true driving force. It should just be a reward for succeeding with a more 'true' driving force: Their future.
Bad Idea/Rootabega.

You can teach children to want to enjoy learning, you don't need to pay them.
Using money as an incentive is just laziness.
Did any of you read the entire article? It appears that "no" is the answer. If you had done so then you would fully understand just *what* was done and *what* the findings were.

The experiment he did wasn't just "giving students $20.00 per A, $10.00 per B" - it was giving a variety of schools different methods of "earning" money - some schools were given money based on attendance, others based on the books that they read throughout the year. Other were paid for behavior, some were paid for grades and others were paid or a variety of these things. Yet again other students as in KIPP (page 3/4) weren't paid with money at all - but with incentives (pencils, erasers, neato things).

This is how some of you are responding - note the ridiculous "but they should WANT to learn for the love of learning" when it's obviously NOT working out for any of these students:

This time, Fryer wanted to get a random sample of city schools to participate. Which is not as easy as it sounds. At some schools, the principal and teachers opened their arms wide and said, "Sure. We're struggling here. We'll try anything." At others, Fryer had to spend hours pleading with staff who felt kids should learn for the love of learning — not for the cash. "To this day, I can't tell you what will predict one or the other," he says. "I could walk into a completely failing school, with crack vials on the ground outside, and say, 'Hey, I went to a school like this, and I want to help.' And people would just browbeat me about 'the love of learning,' and I would be like, 'But I just stepped on crack vials out there! There are fights in the hallways! We're beyond that.'
Here are some snippets of his findings:

In the city where Fryer expected the most success, the experiment had no effect at all — "as zero as zero gets," as he puts it. In two other cities, the results were promising but in totally different ways. In the last city, something remarkable happened. Kids who got paid all year under a very elegant scheme performed significantly better on their standardized reading tests at the end of the year. Statistically speaking, it was as if those kids had spent three extra months in school, compared with their peers who did not get paid.
If incentives are designed wisely, it appears, payments can indeed boost kids' performance as much as or more than many other reforms you've heard about before — and for a fraction of the cost.
So what happens if we pay kids to do tasks they know how to do? In Dallas, paying kids to read books — something almost all of them can do — made a big difference. In fact, the experiment had as big or bigger an effect on learning as many other reforms that have been tested, like lowering class size or enrolling kids in Head Start early-education programs (both of which cost thousands of dollars more per student). And the experiment also boosted kids' grades. "If you pay a kid to read books, their grades go up higher than if you actually pay a kid for grades, like we did in Chicago," Fryer says. "Isn't that cool?"
Here, I feel, are a few key points in why this worked/didn't work:

The students were universally excited about the money, and they wanted to earn more. They just didn't seem to know how. When researchers asked them how they could raise their scores, the kids mentioned test-taking strategies like reading the questions more carefully. But they didn't talk about the substantive work that leads to learning. "No one said they were going to stay after class and talk to the teacher," Fryer says. "Not one."

I think this following quote really speaks bounds - it's not for a lack of WANTING to do better (for students and teachers) but HOW do you improve when all you DO know how to do is failing:?
We tend to assume that kids (and adults) know how to achieve success. If they don't get there, it's for lack of effort — or talent. Sometimes that's true. But a lot of the time, people are just flying blind. John List, an economist at the University of Chicago, has noticed the disconnect in his own education experiments. He explains the problem to me this way: "I could ask you to solve a third-order linear partial differential equation," he says. "A what?" I ask. "A third-order linear partial differential equation," he says. "I could offer you a million dollars to solve it. And you can't do it." (He's right. I can't.) For some kids, doing better on a geometry test is like solving a third-order linear partial differential equation, no matter the incentive.
This is also very important:

Over the years, KIPP leaders, who now run 82 schools nationwide, have learned a lot about which rewards work and which do not. They have found that speed matters, for example. Recognition, like punishment, works best if it happens quickly. So KIPP schools pay their kids every week. (Interestingly, the two places Fryer's experiment worked best were the ones where kids got feedback fast — through biweekly paychecks in Washington and through passing computerized quizzes in Dallas.)
And of the utmost importance is parental involvement and even pride - these parents, here, were SO PROUD of their children for doing WELL in school and that likely had far reaching positive effects throughout the children's lives, not just at school:

Parents began using the paychecks as progress reports, contacting teachers to find out why their kids' checks had gone up or down.
Now - based on actually reading it, I think it would have positive while in effect - but negative after it ends, except the "pay to read" which was proven to improve a student's overall school-savvy even after the incentives are taken away.

One bad thing that they didn't mention at all - and I know is an absolute matter of fact - is that some parents would be just as dependent on their child's incentives as much as their hard earned paycheck. How many students, do you think, had to give part or all of it to their parents for their parents to spend freely? I would consider that a resoundingly negative and it would take away from anything good that the students would gain for the program.

I think it also would teach a few things such as financial management, budgeting, and the value of hard work = a better living.

Finally, the last bad thing is: it costs money - just like all other programs (though direct incentives TO the students costs LESS than Head Start or the process of thinning the # of students on a classroom) . . . and when things cost money they always run the risk of becoming too much to continue to pay for.

That being said - I think his payments of $200.00 and so on was ridiculously high - I think they could have done just as well giving far less, making it even more of a savings than a HeadStart or other program.

So - after all this whole long post - would I support it for my children? No.

I give them incentives, already, and they're not money. . . nor do they *cost* money. My children (mainly my older two) were, to be honest, terrible terrible students - I had to change that, I didn't wait for someone else to swoop in and work some magic. I stepped in and took care of business.
Since I am an involved and encouraging parent and I think that's probably the key to these students doing well as I already mentioned.
Since my children already are doing very well in school - there would be little room for them to improve their behavior, attendance and so on from where it's at, now. . . so, if anything, they would benefit little and only the underprivileged or poorly behaving students would show improvement - which would create tension and bitterness between students who already have a love for learning/incentives from concerned and involved parents/and a grasp on educational matters.

Since these same results can be achieved without incentives - while the reports are positive - I think that time and money would be better spent elsewhere.
 
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We get money, raises, bonuses, and time off based off of the quality of our work at jobs. I think paying / rewarding kids to do well in school would more closely simulate what the real world is like. Like I said, grades alone aren't a good enough motivator for some.
It's the same with school, but instead of getting money immediately, you eventually make more money in the long run. Do well in school, get into a good college, do well in college get a better job.

Also, what school program do you want to cut funds from to provide the money to put this incentive program in place?
 

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Did any of you read the entire article? It appears that "no" is the answer. If you had done so then you would fully understand just *what* was done and *what* the findings were.

The experiment he did wasn't just "giving students $20.00 per A, $10.00 per B" - it was giving a variety of schools different methods of "earning" money - some schools were given money based on attendance, others based on the books that they read throughout the year. Other were paid for behavior, some were paid for grades and others were paid or a variety of these things. Yet again other students as in KIPP (page 3/4) weren't paid with money at all - but with incentives (pencils, erasers, neato things).

This is how some of you are responding - note the ridiculous "but they should WANT to learn for the love of learning" when it's obviously NOT working out for any of these students:



Here are some snippets of his findings:







Here, I feel, are a few key points in why this worked/didn't work:



This is also very important:



And of the utmost importance is parental involvement and even pride - these parents, here, were SO PROUD of their children for doing WELL in school and that likely had far reaching positive effects throughout the children's lives, not just at school:



Now - based on actually reading it, I think it would have positive while in effect - but negative after it ends, except the "pay to read" which was proven to improve a student's overall school-savvy even after the incentives are taken away.

One bad thing that they didn't mention at all - and I know is an absolute matter of fact - is that some parents would be just as dependent on their child's incentives as much as their hard earned paycheck. How many students, do you think, had to give part or all of it to their parents for their parents to spend freely? I would consider that a resoundingly negative and it would take away from anything good that the students would gain for the program.

I think it also would teach a few things such as financial management, budgeting, and the value of hard work = a better living.

Finally, the last bad thing is: it costs money - just like all other programs (though direct incentives TO the students costs LESS than Head Start or the process of thinning the # of students on a classroom) . . . and when things cost money they always run the risk of becoming too much to continue to pay for.

That being said - I think his payments of $200.00 and so on was ridiculously high - I think they could have done just as well giving far less, making it even more of a savings than a HeadStart or other program.
My response is still the same, parents are the number 1 motivator for progress in the education of children.
What about all the kids who make good grades, while receiving no money or school granted rewards?

It's another way to excuse the poor performance of a parent.
 

Aunt Spiker

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My response is still the same, parents are the number 1 motivator for progress in the education of children.
What about all the kids who make good grades, while receiving no money or school granted rewards?

It's another way to excuse the poor performance of a parent.
I absolutely agree with you, there. . . absolutely.

it still doesn't undercut the importance of parental involvement. . . and, in fact, I think it supports it - note how the parents were proud and excited, calling to see where and why the student's had an up/down paycheck?

If parents were involved like this WITHOUT their children earning incentives we wouldn't be having these issues at all . . . but, I think it's safe to presume that these parents were, also, raised in the same type of school system - if they got involved but STAYED involved after the program ended - then I think ti woudl still continue to have a positive effect.

How many parents stopped caring? Stopped being concerned and proud after that paycheck stopped coming in? I think that's a more telling issue . . . and rather sad. . . because you know that some of those parents wouldn't have given a damn otherwise.
 

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It's the same with school, but instead of getting money immediately, you eventually make more money in the long run. Do well in school, get into a good college, do well in college get a better job.

Also, what school program do you want to cut funds from to provide the money to put this incentive program in place?
I'll direct you to my previous post...

IMO some kids are too near sighted. Many do not see the full future value of a good education when they are so young. Especially when the rewards of a good education aren't realized until later in life.

Just look at exercise. Because some don't see an immediate result, it's hard to stay motivated.

I wouldn't be against this idea, since money can really motivate people to do better... but I'd rather see students get some kind of prize or privilege instead of money. Maybe earn the right to take a Friday off? Sometimes grades alone aren't a good enough reward.
There are plenty of rewards that can be given out (besides grades) that don't cost money. But irregardless, I'm willing to do anything to make our education system work for all kids.
 
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Harry Guerrilla

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I absolutely agree with you, there. . . absolutely.

it still doesn't undercut the importance of parental involvement. . . and, in fact, I think it supports it - note how the parents were proud and excited, calling to see where and why the student's had an up/down paycheck?

If parents were involved like this WITHOUT their children earning incentives we wouldn't be having these issues at all . . . but, I think it's safe to presume that these parents were, also, raised in the same type of school system - if they got involved but STAYED involved after the program ended - then I think ti woudl still continue to have a positive effect.

How many parents stopped caring? Stopped being concerned and proud after that paycheck stopped coming in? I think that's a more telling issue . . . and rather sad. . . because you know that some of those parents wouldn't have given a damn otherwise.
Many parents use schools as a glorified day care service, they want their children to do good in school but they aren't actually involved, leaving most of that to the school/teacher itself.

In the end though, children emulate their parents to a large degree.

I think it furthers the concept of immediate gratification, instead of delayed gratification.
Which has been a scourge on this nation for a long time.

I'd like to see numbers after it ended as well.
 

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I'll direct you to my previous post...
Very true! (your previous post)
Students (and even some of their parents!) aren't considering the future rewards - they're considering the more immediate rewards . . .teh "paycheck NOW!" . . not the "paycheck after you graduate college and become an Actuary LATER!"

Recognition, like punishment, works best if it happens quickly. So KIPP schools pay their kids every week. (Interestingly, the two places Fryer's experiment worked best were the ones where kids got feedback fast — through biweekly paychecks in Washington and through passing computerized quizzes in Dallas.)
This is why I continually remind my kids as to why certain people in my family have a hard time in lfe - poor choices can destroy your life: drugs, high school dropout, car-thief, no desire to make it in life . . . and some people can criticize me all they like for calling out people on their bad choices, but my children WILL benefit from being made aware of these facts.

Many parents use schools as a glorified day care service, they want their children to do good in school but they aren't actually involved, leaving most of that to the school/teacher itself.

In the end though, children emulate their parents to a large degree.

I think it furthers the concept of immediate gratification, instead of delayed gratification.
Which has been a scourge on this nation for a long time.

I'd like to see numbers after it ended as well.
Yep - how would they do in 2 years, 4 . . . post graduation - did they go to college? I think the 'aftereffects' will be checked in on by Fryer, at least I'd hope so - otherwise - his efforts weren't even geared towards really finding out about things.
 
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Harry Guerrilla

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Yep - how would they do in 2 years, 4 . . . post graduation - did they go to college? I think the 'aftereffects' will be checked in on by Fryer, at least I'd hope so - otherwise - his efforts weren't even geared towards really finding out about things.
Reward based learning is good in general but the realistic rewards should be explained as being realized later in life.

I think that eventually the effects will taper off and those who would have succeeded anyway will continue to do so, while the others will fall by the wayside.
 

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Reward based learning is good in general but the realistic rewards should be explained as being realized later in life.

I think that eventually the effects will taper off and those who would have succeeded anyway will continue to do so, while the others will fall by the wayside.
I agree with this, as well. But, as the article discusses, how do you get someone to realize a benefit or learn how to change when they, their teachers and their parents have no idea how to go about doing it - even if they really wanted to? I imagine it's not easy.

A more "realistic" approach would be to set up a fund for students - give them incentives (but not as much $ overall - the amount that was involved in this was ridiculous) and then add to it throughout their years in school - with it being given to the student upon graduation from highschool. . . . or with it simply being given as money for college books and so on (in a controlled way) - without it changing hands and being "my money" would they care quite so much?

I think ti would be interesting to know, but not worht the trouble to find out.
 

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I see no reason why this wouldn't work or shouldn't be implemented. We've already done this in elementary schools using the "gold stars" and whatnot. It's a reward system just the same.
 

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I agree with this, as well. But, as the article discusses, how do you get someone to realize a benefit or learn how to change when they, their teachers and their parents have no idea how to go about doing it - even if they really wanted to? I imagine it's not easy.

A more "realistic" approach would be to set up a fund for students - give them incentives (but not as much $ overall - the amount that was involved in this was ridiculous) and then add to it throughout their years in school - with it being given to the student upon graduation from highschool. . . . or with it simply being given as money for college books and so on (in a controlled way) - without it changing hands and being "my money" would they care quite so much?

I think ti would be interesting to know, but not worht the trouble to find out.
That sounds like a better alternative, I however hate the idea of the state doing more in education.
It's my natural reaction. :(

The best way to instill a love of learning, is to do it early in life.
As say this because this is what I've done with my son.

He enjoys learning for the sake of learning more.
 

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As to the particular idea mentioned by that article (paying kids for good grades), I think that it's certainly worth considering, although it didn't seem to have much of an effect here in NY.

As to the larger idea of educational experimentation, I think it's absolutely outstanding. There are many different ways in which "education" can take place, both in terms of the way that knowledge is imparted and the type of knowledge that is involved. There's absolutely no reason not to try out all sorts of things and see what works best.

NYC already has hundreds of charter schools and the legislature just doubled the number that will be allowed. There are schools that focus on particular subjects, schools that focus on particular methods of learning, schools that are organized under Teach for America veterans, schools that cut the number of teachers in half but pay them 2X the normal salary, etc. Most of them have been huge successes and have created all sorts of new opportunities for youth. There's no reason not to continue expanding this type of program.
 

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That sounds like a better alternative, I however hate the idea of the state doing more in education.
It's my natural reaction. :(

The best way to instill a love of learning, is to do it early in life.
As say this because this is what I've done with my son.

He enjoys learning for the sake of learning more.
So true - and this also strongly depends on the nature of the child in question.
Some will start off very involved in school and that will give way to being very involved with friends isntead - peer pressure and so on. What is effective or beneficial throughout the year changes.
 
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