Color Coded High School ID Cards Sort Students by Test Performance

Wow.  I’ll admit I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, giving unmotivated students an intrinsic reward for performance isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  But it sure looks as if the high school mentioned in this report is (perhaps inadvertently) creating artificial social strata based on test scores.

A high school in La Palma, California, is coming under fire for a system that publicly identifies and treats students differently according to their scores on the state standardized tests. Students who perform at the highest levels in all subjects receive a black or platinum ID card, while those who score a mix of proficient and advanced receive a gold card. Students who score “basic” or below receive a white ID card. Students with black or gold cards get certain privileges, such as free entrance to sporting events and discounts at local business events. Those with white ID cards get no such privileges, and have a designated line in the cafeteria, while the elite black and gold cardholders have a different line. The majority of students at the school have white cards, so guess which line is longer?

I’ve seen similar “classroom management” scenarios where students are paid “salaries” based on the grades the get and the classroom jobs they perform.  On the one hand, it demonstrates the real-world practice of rewarding performance.  On the other hand…?

What do you think?


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