My thoughts on Bay Middle School's BEP point system

Have you heard about the Bay Middle School’s Best Effort Point system that fifth- and sixth-grade teachers and students use? Well, if you haven’t, here’s a brief explanation. Every grading quarter each student starts out with 25 Best Effort Points or BEPs. Students can lose points for forgetting homework or materials, being disruptive or for other behavior problems in the classroom. 

The students who end the quarter with a certain number of points get to attend the Best Effort Party. The students that lose too many points don't get to go to the party. One example of a BEP party is at the end of the 2nd quarter, students went tobogganing. 

For the first three quarters, the students that kept all 25 BEP points got to attend the “Perfect BEP Party” also. The perfect parties had a negative effect on many students because many felt like they had to be perfect which isn’t possible because everyone makes mistakes. It put a lot of pressure on students and caused them to be stressed out. Luckily, I think the teachers recognized this, and they aren’t going to have perfect BEP parties anymore. 

However, I know there are students that even if they are told it is OK to lose points, they still don’t like the feeling of losing points. There are other students that lose lots of points and seem to stop caring about the points all together. I am not sure how this system is helping.

The way I see it is there are some students stressed out about losing points and there are other students who kind of give up because they always lose points. I know the middle school has to have some sort of system for behavior, but I struggle to understand how this kind of system helps improve behavior and academics.

Focusing on the negative never feels good to anyone. My teachers don’t only focus on the negative in class. They say plenty of nice things to us but I’m sure taking points away from students doesn’t feel good to them either.

I wonder if there could be a better system. I wonder if the focus could be more of a positive system instead of negative. The teachers and students could both benefit from a positive behavior system. I’m sure a positive system might not be perfect either, but it might help reduce the students’ stress and teachers’ frustrations. 

Maybe a system that makes students earn points for doing the right thing like having homework in on time and behaving in class appropriately would be better. I believe earning points might motivate kids because it feels good to earn things. I believe awarding points to students would make the teachers feel better too.

The school must have their reasons for using the BEP system but I wish they would consider doing a positive system in the future. Middle school is hard enough and the BEP points just make it harder.

Audrey Ray

Sixth-grader at Bay Middle School

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:05 AM, 04.15.2014