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Attendance Incentives

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Every district, for a variety of reasons, wants to make sure students aren't skipping school. And it's no secret that many have been offering ever-more-enticing rewards for excellent attendance: everything from movies tickets to bicycles to iPods. But now some districts, with local car dealers' help, are now offering the ultimate reward for footloose teens: brand new cars and trucks. Those in favor say it doesn't cost the participating schools anything, financially speaking; those opposed say it sends the wrong message.

What do you think? Should students be rewarded with material goods for excellent attendance? And even if there's no harm in rewarding students in some ways, have some districts gone too far?

7 Comments

The question is not whether or not I agree with the practice of rewarding students with material goods for attendance. The question is: Does this practice work?

Have any of the schools who are currently using this practice showing gains in attendance? in student performance?

If they are, we all need to take a closer look!

I don't see anything wrong with rewarding attendence but my question is: What about the students who attend school because they want to win - are they given a new vehicle of their choice also? If it is for all students, it's a good situation but on the other hand if the at risk students are not participating in learning and/or preventing other students from learning it may backfire.

Whatever happened to the movement toward intrinsic motivation? If our students grow up asking "What will you give me?," will that attitude be helpful when they get out into the real world?

The debate over intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivatation continues. I agree that only if it is shown to work. If is gets some kids of the couch and into their classrooms. So be it. Not all experiments succeed, some do. The truth is some kids are looking for different kinds of connections into their own lives and the world in general. All students should recieve the benefit, not just the kids that will not come to school. That would not be fair and would send the wrong message. Could I get some sort of credit towards a new car for just showing up to my job?

HI! I am looking for a class called "Methods of Teaching Health for K-12". This is required by the Fl. DOE and I can't find this class ANYWHERE!!!! Can anyone help me with this? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated!

A kid's best motivation for showing up for my class is knowing that s/he will miss important material if s/he is not there! My motto is "When you miss, you miss out." I NEVER have a "lag day" when we don't do something important in class. Every day is valuable, and if kids want to get the most out of the class--or even just earn a passiong grade--they have to attend regularly. Of course I will help students catch up on anything missed during an absence, but class discussions cannot be recreated or made up after the fact. Showing up with a completed draft, ready for peer revision, is a whole lot better than being absent and having to beg a classmate to look over that draft later.

Ms. Manners suggests that incentives may not be a good thing if they bring those "at risk" kids back into the classroom (just for the incentive) and they still aren't learning.

Better they stay on the street?

And maybe we should learn to do a better job of addressing their risk factors, so that they are learning?

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