One way to motivate middle school students to study harder, a report suggests, may be to inspire them with dreams of making it big in the stock market.
The findings, released last month at the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting in Montreal, are based on a study of eight Maryland middle schools participating in a program known as Stocks in the Future, which rewards low-achieving students with opportunities to invest in stocks when they rack up good grades or good attendance records. For instance, the students get $1 for each week of perfect attendance. That money is then invested in the stock market, and the students take control of the investments once they graduate from high school.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore compared 195 6th and 7th graders taking part in the three-year program with 221 nonparticipating students in the same grades and schools. After one year, the authors found, the program students had better attendance and scored higher on vocabulary, reading comprehension, and applied-math tests than those in the comparison group.