Paying students for better grades?

So an interesting email landed in my inbox today.

In it, the author—who I think is a part of a team marketing the new movie based on the popular book Freakonomics—pointed me to this YouTube excerpt from the film, which spotlights a study designed to discover whether paying students cold hard cash has a positive impact on their academic performance:

 

Crazy, isn’t it?  Made me feel kind of dirty, actually.  To see schools appealing to such extrinsic and materialistic awards to motivate kids just doesn’t feel right.

But if it works, can we really knock it?  If improved academic performance is what we care about and cash is an incentive that changes behaviors, wouldn’t we be stupid not to consider it?

All I know is that I’m going to download the video in iTunes right now.  I kind of want to know what the outcomes of the study were!

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