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 tandards 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 y 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 ajor 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 nspire 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.
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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 between high effort and low grades is unacceptable. Motivation is not always by a grade, but a result of a student hard work and will to succeed. Ames and Ames (1990) report on two secondary school math teachers. One teacher graded every homework assignment and counted homework as 30 percent of a student’s final grade. The second teacher told students to spend a fixed amount of time on their homework (thirty minutes a night) and to bring questions to class about problems they could not complete. This teacher graded homework as satisfactory or unsatisfactory, gave students the opportunity to redo their assignments, and counted homework as 10 percent of the final grade. Although homework was a smaller part of the course grade, this second teacher was more successful in motivating students to turn in their homework”.
We all want to be the best that we can be whether by obtaining the highest grade or the lowest grade. Students learn best by enjoying their class, being a participant in activities and tasks. Some may express their displeasure by simple indifference, but this does not take away the need to become competent and a need to perfect their skills in the classroom. Rather than the emphasis of a grade and more on capitalizing on a student existing needs can result in the real reason they took on a course. The need for a new experience, overcoming challenges and as always a thirst or knowledge. “Many students adopt an attitude of indifference to hard work, a stance that implies both confidence in their own ability and a casual regard for academic success. Low-achieving students deny the importance of learning and withhold the effort it requires in order to avoid the stigma of having tried and failed”. (OERI) Works Cited http://teaching. berkeley. edu/bgd/motivate. html (General Strategies) http://teaching. berkeley. edu/bgd/motivate. html (De-emphasizing Grades) Site Unknown Quote from Diane Ravitch http://www. ed. gov/offices/OERI/index. html (OERI)