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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Should Florida students get rewards for passing the FCAT?



The Winter Haven News Chief today offers a story of a high school that struggled to get its students reading well enough to pass the FCAT. Since opening in 2008, Tenoroc High earned a D in the state's school grading system.

This year, the school looks likely to make a C. The school administration challenged kids to do better, and many delivered. The teens who performed best on the FCAT reading test won prizes -- Kindle Fires or a school day field trip to Universal Studio in Orlando. The awards were donated, so it wasn't school funds that covered the cost. But the concept still raises the key question: Should students be rewarded for doing well in school or on a test?

You can argue that going to school is the students' job, and so getting "paid" for their work makes sense in the same way that adults get a salary for their employment. But is that a fair comparison? Is the education itself not a reward, in a world where jobs for lesser-educated people are becoming increasingly scarce?

Studies have suggested that rewards can make a difference to students in certain circumstances. There's also the argument by Alfie Kohn that rewards, like punishments, are manipulative and could end up harming motivation in the long haul.

Your thoughts?

[Last modified: Friday, September 14, 2012 1:35pm]


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