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Incentives in the High School Classroom

By Lady Lit

This article discusses incentives that teachers can extend to their students as well as reasons why teachers may choose to extend incentives to their students.

Examples of Incentives

Here are some high school student incentive ideas I offer and how these incentives work:

If I am seeking a true evaluation of students’ skills and am attempting to get students to do their best, I will offer a replace-a-grade. I allow students who earn an 80 or better to replace two daily grades or one test grade with whatever grade they earn on the assignment.

Although I'm not giving a lot, students act as though they're getting the world.

Grades for Coming to Class Prepared

If I see that I have a number of students who are not bringing their textbooks to class, I make it an assignment. I conduct unannounced book checks. If students have their texts in class, they earn a 100, and if they do not, they get a zero and a phone call home. After I do this a week or two, everyone brings their textbooks to class. The 100 encourages students to bring their books to class and in effect, this improves their averages. If everyone has a text when I am teacher, students must open their book, look at the material, and familiarize themselves with the material.

Eating/Drinking Incentives...Always Popular!

The best high school student incentive ideas involve food and drink.

Another incentive, which my students love, is the opportunity to earn eating/drinking privileges. My students are not allowed to eat or drink in my class, so this is a real treat. They will do whatever it takes to earn this privilege. I use it as a reward for grades, but you could easily use in as a reward for improved behavior.

If you extend an offer to students to better their grades, they see that you care and are trying to help. Most understand that you will only help if students do their part. Once a student sees that you care, getting them to do what you want becomes much easier.