Are Grades an Effective Way to Motivate Students?

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Wanita Velez

English 101

September 6, 2008

Are Grades An Effective Way to Motivate Students?

“Across America, in state after state, a decade of major reforms in education

has so far failed to produce the anticipated improvement in the quality of our schools

or the academic achievements of our students”. (Diane Ravitch) Its seems that issues

surrounding teachers pay, parental and society influence of the schools, text book

costs, new school gear are more important than the discussion about motivating

students and the impact of grades that reflects on our students. What about raising

standards to ensure students succeed and increase there level of effort. After all our

students are the future and grades are very influential in the way our students will

prepare for the world. Late in 1990, the Office of Educational Research and

Improvement held a national conference on student motivation. The touchstone of the

conference was imperative that all of America's students must rise to the challenge of

higher standards of achievement if the nation is to continue to thrive. One problem

that cannot be overemphasized is that a student’s effort and engagement is activated

by learning, and with learning we have grades which will only benefit to the

achievement students.

I have always believed that good grades have an effective way to motivate a

student. With good grades students are enthusiastic about learning. They are

inspired. Grades challenge and stimulate them to have better academic performance.

An interest in the course and wanting to stay in the class will result in hardworking

and ambitious students. Self-confidence and persistence from positive feedback and

an open atmosphere can increase grades. In a survey students were asked to analyze

their classes in the effect of grades and motivation. Each student compiled a list and

reached a consensus on characteristics. The same eight characteristics emerge. An

instructor’s enthusiasm, relevance of the material, organization of the course,

appropriate difficulty level of the material, active involvement of the students, variety,

use of concrete and understandable examples and a good rapport between teacher and

students.(Sass 1989)

I have a hard time doubting this because I believe that grades actually play a

major part on how well a student motivate themselves to succeed in a class. After

doing a little research I can say with doubt that grades impact a student ability to learn

profoundly. Its seems that most educators believe that as an ideal all students should

learn as much as their ability and effort will permit and therefore the lure of high

grades and test scores play the significant part of the achievement of a student. Yet,

most schools reward high achievement alone and the less talented of the bunch whose

hard labor goes without appreciation and the grade they receive does not inspire

courage and effort. With that being said, low-ability students and those who are

Disadvantaged must work hardest to have the incentive, which is almost

cumbersome. The motivation for a course and any self-esteem a student may possess

before a low grade vanishes. Becoming less interested in school and taking on any

hard course may seem impossible to complete because of the grading system.

Pressure to stay in the competition and maintain a high score from a course arouse

jealousy toward other students along with constant reminders of grades from parents,

school and society. Conflict with parents arises for not maintaining a good grade

and keeping up with a class and that new iPod that was tied to an excellent grade will

not be rewarded. The impression that a grade portray determines the outcome for a

student who thinks that they are studying for all the wrong reasons. Something to

be evaded if possible is that the relationship...
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