Monday, September 15, 2008
What Motivates Higher Achievement
What motivates students to learn and excel academically? Or, more specifically for our concerns at the moment, what motivates African American students in or from impoverished environments to place a high value on education?
Conversations about young black students and their academic motivation will likely gain more and more attention with the increasing publicity and influence of Roland Fryer’s incentive programs. A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned his program in our post "Incentives and Progress?".
At the time, Fryer’s program was being introduced in Washington, D.C., after having been implemented in schools in New York and Texas. Well, now 20 Chicago Public Schools unveiled "a financial incentive program" that "will allow more than 5,000 students to earn up to $4,000 each for achieving academic benchmarks."
At the root of these incentive programs are issues concerning what might motivate black students from struggling backgrounds to achieve higher academic heights.
But what is it that really motivates black students to attain higher academic achievement? And how do we know? We always hear anecdotal narratives about the exceptional African American student who came from nothing and achieved, but what about the macro or widespread view of academic motivation or lack thereof in the lives of struggling students?
We’ll keep writing and thinking on this subject and try to provide more insight. In the meantime, feel free to send us pertinent links to articles on the subject or let us know your thoughts.