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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Markets in everything: selling grades edition

Well, it was bound to happen. As schools find themselves strapped for cash and the allure of buying one more magazine subscription or another chocolate bar wanes, where do schools go next for their fund raising efforts? Our local elementary has gone with an outfit that essentially replicates cafe-press for your child's artwork. You can buy pot holders, mugs, etc., with your kid's artwork on it. It is cool, different and it worked for us (at least the first time).

How about selling grades? It is a logical conclusion to the fundraising efforts and indeed it seems to have been implemented in Goldsboro, North Carolina (outside Raleigh) :

Selling candy didn't raise much money last year, so a Goldsboro middle school is selling grades.

A $20 donation to Rosewood Middle School will get a student 20 test points - 10 extra points on two tests of the student's choosing. That could raise a B to an A, or a failing grade to a D.

Susie Shepherd, the principal, said a parent advisory council came up with the idea, and she endorsed it. She said the council was looking for a new way to raise money.

"Last year they did chocolates, and it didn't generate anything," Shepherd said.

Shepherd rejected the suggestion that the school is selling grades. Extra points on two tests won't make a difference in a student's final grade, she said.

It's wrong to think that "one particular grade could change the entire focus of nine weeks," Shepherd said.
It is interesting that the principal seems to not understand the idea of the margin. If it is true that two test grades don't determine the final grade then what about three or four? Of course, points add up and twenty points could prove marginal between an `B' and an `A' - why try to deny it?

I have long (tounge-in-cheek) advocated for hints on exams sponsored by local food establishments or other college-focused businesses.

You heard it here first.

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Crud. I thought markets were at everything and that nonmarket institutions were defunct... Could that not be the case?
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