How Reward Systems Are Used in Schools

In a perfect world every student would eagerly absorb information and then use it to improve their lives. The reality is that educational systems are faced with challenges that make that goal very difficult for some learners. Students come from many walks of life and often face challenges that make learning an uphill battle. To combat these issues schools often use reward systems that provide incentives for students to do well.

Student Rewards Play a Vital Role in Success

According to a current student rewards guide, educational systems have recognized the importance of incentives for decades. In fact, according to this guide New York included a reward program as early as 1820. The practice has always been used as a way to encourage academic excellence, which is important for children’s futures. Schools have also improved other important factors, but they have not been enough. For instance, 40% more teachers now have master’s degrees and average student-teacher ratios have gone from 22:1 to 16:1. Educational systems have also increased spending from $5,200 per student to $12,000 per student. These changes have netted only modest improvements.

Reward Systems Vary by Need

The type of rewards offered to students range from cash to merchandise. The choice is often based on what type of incentives local pupils respond to. For instance, in areas where poverty is common, one school offered $2 every time a student reached a math goal. Financial incentives have produced impressive results, with one school showing a 125% increase in the number of students achieving goals. However, educators also effectively use giveaways like branded wristbands, pencil cases, water bottles and bounce balls. In addition, successful non-financial incentives can include good behavior reward stamps and organized fun days for top performers.

Total Buy In and Consistency Are Keys

Although there are a range of incentive programs that can help children get the best possible education, they all have one thing in common. Each requires that administrators, teachers and students all buy in to the programs. Reward systems also need to be carefully planned and managed in order to get the best results.

Schools that want to help students get the most out of their educations often create reward systems. Some educational systems use money as rewards. Others offer gifts in the form of branded merchandise.