Friday, September 19, 2008

Venting the Anger: Motivating Students

So with all this No Child Left Behind nonsense, schools are trying their best to get their API scores over 800 and by 2013 have all of their students be proficient or advanced in all the tests. Now, don't get me wrong I think testing students to see what they learned is good. But there is no accountability on the students if they do bad. I won't get into the students aspect too much because I touched on it HERE.

So schools are trying to motivate students to do better. At this particular school, some of the staff and administrators told the students if they met their goal then they would shave their heads ( BTW, their goal was 9 points...NINE POINTS!!! The state re-adjusts scores more than 9 points sometimes. So they met their goal and off goes the hair. Everyone is happy, it's a great photo op for the school and kids.

But what are we teaching these get them to do their best there must be a reward. What happened to motivation coming from within? When you wanted to do your best just to show you could. We have created a generation of kids that will always expect something in return for them doing their job. I have students that are constantly asking "what do we get if..."

Suicide rates are climbing for younger children and this is part of the problem. These kids are allowed to fail or even do a simple task without some sort of reward. When they finally encounter some sort of resistance, they panic and don't know what to do. Look at what a school district in Dallas, Texas did. They changed their grading policy to include the following:

•Homework grades should be given only when the grades will "raise a student's average, not lower it."

•Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines.

•Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade.

•Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make "efforts to assist students in completing the work."

•High school teachers who fail more than 20 percent of their students will need to develop a professional improvement plan and will be monitored by their principals. For middle school the rate is 15 percent; for elementary it's 10 percent. (from:

I really don't want to see what the future holds for this country.

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