Grade Accountability: Do You Reward for Good Grades?

Updated on February 10, 2015
S.R. asks from Scottsdale, AZ
22 answers

My dd just started middle school this school year (our middle school starts in 6th grade), and this is the first time she has actually received grades that are based on points earned and the first time she has had letter grades...A B C etc.
She's been doing fine (got 4 A's 2 B's first trimester) and has all A's and one high B for the second trimester so far. But, she feels a ton of pressure since we check her grades online often and whenever she gets a lower score on a test, I usually ask her why or I ask what questions she had problems with.
I know my dd studies for her tests because I help quiz if she doesn't do well, I know it's not for lack of trying
My question is, how do you monitor your child's grades and do you reward them for good grades? How much pressure do you put on them to get good grades?

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answers from Houston on

We monitor grades online as well. Good grades are not rewarded with an actual item or treat. But they are praised.
Lower than expected grades are addressed on a case by case basis. A lot of factors can be attributed to lower grades.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My kids are too young for grades but I feel like School is their job. Is the child going to school, putting in effort and getting good results? Then they get 'paid' with privileges. Maybe a nice phone or trip to a amusement park after the end of the semester, or a movie with friends after a big test?

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Atlanta on

Like others said, I think you might want to scale back on how often you check her online grades. She hasn't given you a reason to be concerned, so you don't need to check up on every grade, I would think. I do not monitor our middle-schooler's grades online, even though we could. Then again, he doesn't need us to keep track of them because he does really well. We don't put pressure on either of them about grades, but we do give reminders about doing homework and projects.

In terms of motivation, we definitely don't pay for grades, however when both kids had excellent report cards last month, my husband and I took them out for dinner and congratulated them. Personally, I try to keep the focus on what they are learning and whether they are enjoying certain topics in class, though the kids often don't have much to say when I ask about those things!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

No. Don't reward grades. I reward effort. If my poor student gets a C I'm thrilled but if my A student makes a C...heads will roll. :)

I don't check daily grades as much. I check progress reports closely and go from there.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I didn't monitor her work or her grades. She knew what her assignments were and when they were due. She knew that IF she needed help, all she had to do was ask, but she had to ask.
Her homework and her grades were her responsibility to keep up with, not mine.
I didn't put pressure on her to make good grades. I didn't punish for bad grades. If she made the honor roll, we went to Baskin Robbins and got ice cream to celebrate.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Nope, lots of high fives and hugs.
We told our daughter if she was happy with her grades and felt like she had done her best, we were fine with that. I would rather she have a B- in an advanced or honors class than high A's in classes .it would show me she was being challanged and trying.

Make sure you compliment your daughter on "working really hard", on completing her work on time and especially asking for help when needed. Pushing herself is fine, but not if it makes her unhappy. Be sure to always ask her "are you as pleased as we are with you work?"

Also remind her, the smartest people are willing to ask for help. It shows initiative.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Jeez, Mom, you check her grades online often and pester her about every test? How would you like it if someone evaluated and quizzed you about your performance on a daily or weekly basis? (Answer -- you wouldn't.)

Your daughter "feels a ton of pressure." Is that healthy?

Your daughter has all A's and one B; she got 4 A';s and two B's last semester. How about lightening up and getting your nose out of her schoolwork?

How did I monitor my kids' grades in middle and high school? I waited for their report cards. I talked to them about what kinds of things they were doing in school. I asked to read their essays, and see the work they brought home, because it interested me and I liked to save a lot of it.

And no, I didn't reward them for good grades, although they got mostly A's. I figured the A's were their own reward.

Your daughter is doing fine. Stop stressing her out and taking the joy out of learning.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Hmmm.....I also have a 6th grader and a 3rd grader. They just brought home their grades today and both did well. What I care about MOST is the teacher comments though. Are they behaving, are they kind, considerate, respectful. THey both are!! YES!!
So, to celebrate they got a high 5 and a hug from me. No rewards for good grades, it's just expected that they do their best.
I would encourage you to stop focusing on what your daughter is not doing well (you put a ton of pressure on her since you check her grades online and then quiz her on missed questions) and instead focus on what your daughter is doing well. Play to her strengths instead of her weeknesses.
There is an EXCELLENT video on youtube on focusing on strengths (I watched it for my Social and Human Services class, it totally changed how I look at my kids.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yeah, my husband tried that and it didn't work.
Maybe it works for some but I truly believe kids are either motivated (or not) to get good grades based on a variety of reasons.
I'd stop checking her grades all the time. She's a good student so why add to the pressure she's already feeling? Or are you a parent that expects perfection?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

It really depends upon the student. Different kids and different personality types require different parenting.

My daughter (8th grade this year) has always been extremely, highly motivated. She doesn't need me checking up on her at all. She is excited to start on projects the moment they are assigned, doesn't turn in late or incomplete work, has never struggled with any subject matter, and is typically advanced in everything. She stays extremely busy, and I have to be more on top of her schedule outside of school hours than anything else. (She does karate 2x per week, assists in additional classes, takes piano, is part of the math league, plays piano in jazz band--in addition to her woodwind instrument during band class during school hours--, plays the piano/organ for church each week--the liturgy and hymns for the entire service--, does Jr. Beta activities, and has a social life on top of that.)

I have to monitor things to help her decide what she needs to scale back (if she does) or whether it is possible to take on something new (there is always something new coming along).

Her grades? I don't pay for her grades. She's hard enough on herself. If she didn't earn an A in each subject for every grading period, she'd be upset.

If your school has set it up so that you can go online and see all her grades, then it is also set up so that SHE can go online and see her grades. I'd suggest that you should get her into the habit of doing so. I'm sure she sees each and every graded assignment when it is handed back to the students, but she may not see how they impact her grade. It is a useful tool for them also, to be sure they are not missing any assignments, and typically the teachers will load upcoming work (assignments and tests/quizzes) into the computer before they are given/graded. So you and she can see online that she has a TEST in math on Thursday. Or a project due on Friday (you can ask how it's progressing, is she on track with it, does she need any supplies, etc).

Then there are other students who really need you more help, b/c they just are not organized enough on their own. It's a long, slow process sometimes, and sometimes they really need more maturity (brain growth/changes... physically) before some of the ability to deal with it all starts to function well. My son is in that category. He is 11th grade this year, and it has been a long, painful process. But in the past 2 years he has matured a lot and has taken charge of his grades and work.
Some of it is personality (he's more laid back, less interested in school work in general, not driven to excellence, etc), but some of it is the still growing connections in the pubescent brain and the hardwiring that is reorganizing in their heads during the massive time of growth. His ability to organize himself grew almost at the same rate as his physical growth did, just tracked slightly behind it...
Big physical growth spurt in 8-9th grades. Big organizational growth in 10th.

Some kids need more supports than others. Always with the end game of having them independently capable of taking charge of their work. It can take time. If your daughter is fairly organized and independent and motivated without you pushing, then don't push. It isn't necessary.

We do not pay for grades. We have used screen time to motivate during elementary. Now grades affect how many days son is allowed to drive to school (instead of riding the bus).

We always celebrate big accomplishments, though. And that doesn't necessarily mean an "A".. sometimes it can mean passing Chemistry. ;)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

We don't put a ton of pressure on the actual grade, but we do put a lot of emphasis on the amount of effort and consistency put into their schoolwork. The amount of effort put in directly affects their grades, and results in good grades. Usually A's and B's in our house, though an occasional C will show up.

We don't reward for certain grades, but we do celebrate as a family, recognizing personal victories together. Did a C at mid-term in Social Studies (the hated subject for both boys in my house) get raised to a B or A? That's worth celebrating because real effort was required to push past the dislike of that particular subject! So we all go out for a movie or have ice cream for dinner and talk about how great it feels to push through something that is not only difficult but also not that fun to get to the finish.

We require a lot of personal accountability in our house. We don't hover. If a poor grade is brought home, I don't call the teacher. We talk. I ask what they can do to improve the grade, and then place the onus on them to take that action. I believe that, at middle school age, "trust but verify" is the name of the game. We have to step back a bit, and give them the opportunity to be successful...and if they fail, you have an opportunity to help them grow and learn. Thankfully, during middle school, they're still "wet cement." The grades aren't following them to college. So you can try different motivational methods and ideas with them. :-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I put more emphasis on studying, effort, and doing your very best. Even if that's an A, B, or C. My son is in 5th grade, and they have been correcting with letter grades this year. My son is a perfectionist, and is very hard on himself if he doesn't get a perfect score. We teach that is more important to try your best, then not to try at all. If he comes home with a good grade in something I know he worked super hard on- I reward. Usually that is with a dinner of his choice at home or a certain dessert to look forward to on the weekend.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

Our oldest is in 4th. We don't give money or gifts for good report cards. We do celebrate their effort with pizza/movie night or something similar. For us, it's not about the grade, but about the effort. We have 3 kids. What if one gets all A's with little/no effort and the other struggles to make A/B honor roll, but studies his butt off? How do you reward (with money, for example) the one with all As because they're just naturally 'brighter' and give less to the kid who worked his a$$ off?? That's why we don't do money or gifts. We don't pressure for good grades. We stress the importance of good study habits, completing homework, completing classwork, paying attention in class, etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I find it more important that they are learning and doing the best they can then an arbitrary letter on a piece of paper. Every teacher has their own way of deciding how to give those letter grades. Some are based on nothing but turning in pieces of busy work that the teacher never even looks at. I will always remember the story of a friend of mine in High School. The teacher was so bent on tracking every little piece of paper. You had to turn in so many drafts of a paper before the final paper was due. For one she wrote "Fluff, fluff, fluff. This is filling my paper with fluff. I need to include this paper of pre-picked quotes so here is one. "The Quote"." I kid you not! She got full credit for the draft because the teacher didn't care about what was in the draft but only that 2 pages of writing was turned in by said date. How is that learning anything?! Some teachers make class participation a larger part of the grade, others tests, yet others are all about the quantity of papers handed in. All of these things leave children out. Not every child can speak up in class, not every child can take a test without majorly stressing out even if they know the material. Today's standards have gotten out of hand to add insult to injury.
I reward them for learning at their own pace and for doing their best. I never cared what a piece of paper said.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I have 2 girls. One is in a gifted program. She gets all As in academics and 1s in behavior. The only place she has room for improvement is handwriting. She has an NPR or 99% in reading, 98% writing and 76% in math. My other child has autism and ADHD. She is in a special program. She is a little behind her peers but has made tremendous strides this year. We reward neither but celebrate both their achievements. My husband and I pretty much emanate pride when it comes to our girls, but one of the times I've been proudest was when my oldest daughter came home all excited because her classmate jumped 3 levels in reading. "He is getting a recognition award and he really deserves it." I didn't know I could feel better about being her mom. :)

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answers from Chicago on

No. My kids are expected to do their best. My oldest are in high school. I have never paid them for grades but they do get rewarded in some way when they consistently got good grades. If they did not get a great grade but were trying and not making excuses, then they did not lose out on anything. I expect my kids to do their best, take responsibility and not freak out over one bad test. I am now able to check up on them and their status. I only hound if they are missing assignments and not making progress to get caught up or do poorly on a test and I think maybe they did not prepare. I do think our schools go above and beyond sometimes in letting kids make up work.

One of my girls considers herself failing if she gets a B+ so paying for grades could really backfire.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Well, we expect good grades - but not with pressure, just I know they can make them so that's what is expected.

Quite frankly, if my kids didn't make ok grades it would because they weren't doing the work. This is my grade 7 middle schooler and my older kids.

I monitor grades online through the school and we go to parent teacher talks and also report cards. It's their responsibility to get their work done, get things in on time, etc.

We just let them know how proud we are when they do well. We also step in and help when they need help. Our teachers also are willing to give extra help if needed.

Their grandparents gave them a "grading" gift one year which started off this some years they get one/some years they don't - thing with us. Personally, I didn't think it was necessary.

I want my kids to be proud of using their noggins and that be reward enough. They have older cousins who have done very well through working hard (now graduating with cool jobs) so they kind of get it.

I also don't punish if they don't get all A's. We haven't had anything lower than a B yet, but I would be more concerned that they had fallen behind or didn't understand something.

So .. no pressure exactly, more that we know what they are capable of, and that's what we expect. We must have just communicated that from the start. We haven't hit the older grades yet where it gets harder and there are more distractions. I assume it may become a bit more challenging then (maybe we'll have to offer incentive). Will deal with that when we get there!

Sounds like your daughter is doing well - I would just assure her you're her mom and it's your job to make sure she'd handling school well and getting it - and you're there to help :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My oldest has always had A's...for a reward, she knows that her hard work has paid off. We will sometimes do a treat. She loves Starbucks so I got her a coffee. She works hard for her A's and yes, I check them daily. We stay on top of her, but she wants the A's more than we do so she busts her tail to get them.

Our second has only had 2 B's ever. The first was in 3rd grade for not turning in a homework just before grades closed and on this one for media. What?! Either way - same with him. He loves to get good grades so he works hard for them each time. He asked for a 4 pack nugget kids meal from Chick-Fil-A.

The youngest doesn't get grades yet, but he will be hard on himself for sure, he is a mirror of our oldest. He got a $10 toy from Target as his pick.

We don't always get them things though. Sometimes it is just a "great job" and other times it is something. Depends on my budget at the time and their attitudes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We have friends who actually pay for grades -- I'm not sure of the exact amounts but it's things like $10 for each A (at the end of the quarter, not for each test or quiz!) and $5 for each B and nothing for C or below.

But we don't pay our own middle schooler daughter for grades. We do praise her for effort, and let her know a lot that we appreciate all the work she puts in (and it's a lot; she's in eighth grade in a pretty rigorous program). It's a tough balance between emphasizing to her that grades are part of her "job" and not focusing on every little assignment or quiz grade. My husband and I try to focus more on the overall class grade at any given time. We try to talk about it in terms of "What can we do to help you do your best, whether it''s supplies you need this week, or carving out time you need alone to do a project, etc."

I kind of take my late mother's approach: School's your job so of course you do well, and should be motivated by learning for its own sake. Doesn't work every time in every subject (algebra, I'm looking at you) but works overall with kids who like school. My mom also never paid for grades or rewarded based directly on report cards but she was great at surprises, like a special gift at the end of a challenging term, or (later!) handing me car keys and lunch money for me and some friends "because you've been working so hard."

When our daughter gets an unexpectedly low grade on specific classwork or tests, like you, we know about it because our middle school teachers send out grade reports not just at the end of the quarter but throughout the quarter, and we can see every test, quiz, project, classroom activity and homework grade. It's a big change from elementary, where you didn't see all those grades (or only saw them on paper, or if you asked the teacher), but it's useful.

For instance, I've noticed that on certain classwork in one subject she's getting lower grades than on her homework and tests in the same subject -- so I can ask her, what's up with the difference there since overall you do fine in the subject but this type of grade is consistently lower? She can fill me in on the types of assignments and classroom dynamics, and that is VERY useful at times; it lets us know how a particular teacher teaches and where our kid is maybe not setting her priorities quite right for studying. Once recently there was a very bad grade on something in the e-mailed grade report and she took it up with the teacher and apparently he had made a grading error for her and other kids too -- he amended it, but if she and other kids (and parents) had not been able to see it quickly and inquire about it, those grades might have gone on to affect the quarter's grade.

Your daughter sounds a lot like mine, a kid who does study and put in the effort, and you want to encourage that. Is she, as you put it, feeling "a ton of pressure" because she knows you are able to see every single grade? How often are you checking her grades online? (We only get them about every other week, e-mailed -- there is no web page that has daily grade updates, for instance.) If she's keenly aware that you check her grades very frequently, honestly, I'd ramp back and tell her you'll check weekly instead. Tell her that what matters most is that there not be any surprises -- if she feels she tanked on a quiz, or turned in a project a day late, you want to hear it from her before you see the result on a grade update from school. That's important for me with my daughter; I just want to know from her how things are going so that no grades are surprises to either of us.

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answers from Washington DC on

DH gave the stepkids money for As. I felt it was unnecessary. At present, my DD gets praised for good grades and improvement and if there are Cs and Ds on any reports, we'll be discussing what's going on.

If she feels a lot of pressure when you check the grades online, talk to her about it. Would she feel better if this was a joint check? If she brought you the tests directly so you could both see them? What if you made it a point to display all the As so she feels like you see her achievements and not just her disappointments? When I was a kid, I also felt like As were just expected and I got less praise than my sister, who struggled a little more. I wanted that praise, too!

You might also weigh the overall ability per class. My mom gave me more leeway in math because it was NOT my strong suit. But she didn't really worry about Bs unless it was a class we consistently aced and suddenly tanked in or she thought we weren't putting in effort. We had to take away my stepson's video games for a while when his grades slipped because he was up playing HALO all night. For example.

The trick here might be to look at her overall progress instead of micromanaging and periodically ask her about how class is going, how she did on that test, etc. vs making it a constant thing. We told the sks we would not check Edline all the time, but if we felt there was a problem, we would. We expected them to do their work, keep their grades up AND let us know when there was a problem, especially if they could not work it out with the teacher.



answers from Dallas on

My mom paid me for my grades and I will pay my kids for theirs. I feel, School is my kids job and they deserve a paycheck. I would not work without one. My mon paid $1 for A's, .50 cents for B's and .25 cents for C's. If I had all A's then I received a $25 bonus.



answers from Denver on

I have four very different learners in my home. I look for the things that they can control when I check grades, not the grade itself. Admittedly I am not about what grades are. I want my kids to do their best. For some that is a C in math, for others an A or B. They are all amazing at different things. I look for the things they can control. I check for tardies, NO MISSING assignments.mmif there is an occasional late assignment, I will always ask about it, if it becomes a regular habit we make changes. Also I check to make sure that they are taking advantage of extra credit opportunities. I believe,nth at these are the things that matter than the actual grade. If they struggle or get a particularly low test grade, I make sure that they set up a time and meet with the teacher and follow up with the teacher after they toldme they talked to them. The key being they set up and meet, I am not the me taking the initiative. I believe these are the important life skills and will help them get the best grades that they are capable of.


I have four very different learners in my home. I look for the things that they can control when I check grades, not the grade itself. Admittedly I am not about what grades are. I want my kids to do their best. For some that is a C in math, for others an A or B. They are all amazing at different things. I look for the things they can control. I check for tardies, NO MISSING assignments.mmif there is an occasional late assignment, I will always ask about it, if it becomes a regular habit we make changes. Also I check to make sure that they are taking advantage of extra credit opportunities. I believe,nth at these are the things that matter than the actual grade. If they struggle or get a particularly low test grade, I make sure that they set up a time and meet with the teacher and follow up with the teacher after they toldme they talked to them. The key being they set up and meet, I am not the me taking the initiative. I believe these are the important life skills and will help them get the best grades that they are capable of.

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