The Value of Competition in the Classroom

Competition is Universal

Competition -Yes or No?

What is your view on competition?

  • It's great. It motivates people to work harder
  • It's not good. It is discouraging when others always seem to do better than you.
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Competition Among Students

Competition in any form brings out the best in people and pushes them to excel. In schools, if used effectively, it can enhance learning significantly.

Certainly, competition in the classroom is quite healthy; it should in fact be encouraged. It allows students to extend themselves, to exploit their real capabilities and maximize their true potential. It is most productive when it occurs among students of similar abilities.

Traditionally, schools have fostered competition among students by assigning positions at the end of the term/semester. Each student is assigned a position based on the average score obtained from an aggregate of tests and assignment scores. In fact, some schools give positions by subject as well as overall class position so a student may have come in third position, but might have gained first place in Math.

Usually, the diligent student is concerned about the position that he/she acquires and no good student wants to move from a high class position to a lower one. This keeps competition alive and well in the classroom. Students are able to match their abilities against that of their classmates and easily determine who their rivals are. In other words, they evaluate their own competencies and recognize who their competitors are.They can then decide how much effort they need to put into their work in order to remain at the top. Over time, they might also acknowledge that there are certain students whom they cannot match and to whom they must concede defeat

Competition Produces Excellence

To Students

Are you motivated to work harder when there is competition in the classroom?

  • Yes
  • No
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Different Levels of Competition Within the Classroom

Competition can exist among different groups and at different levels in the same class.

  • Among the top students - For e.g. in the case of students who usually come in the top three positions, competition exists among them for the first place position. While each will concede defeat to the other two as worthy adversaries, if someone from outside of that trio were to come into one of these positions then this outsider would become a threat to the other three. On the other hand, the newcomer would have scored a huge victory which he/she would not be willing to relinquish. The competition would therefore have extended to include four rather than three persons. Each must now strive considerably harder to avoid the fourth position. The possible, positive outcome would be improved grades for all four students and a higher average for the class.
  • Among other groups - Competition will also exist among other clusters apart from the top three. However, motivation to compete decreases as one gets closer to the bottom of the class. This means that while students who place in the top and even perhaps the middle positions may be motivated to compete with those whom they perceive as close rivals, there is hardly any motivation for those who constantly come at the bottom of the class.
  • In subject areas - Competition can also exist in particular subject areas so that even the top three performers overall may recognize that in a specific subject area, there is a particular student whom no one can touch. Efforts will be made to beat him/her and this student who experiences profound gratification for being best in his/her area and for beating the top three, will do all in his/her power to hold on to the position.

Competition Defeats Complacency

Competition is good in the sense that it discourages complacency and raises students’ consciousness of the value of good grades. As a result, the keener the competition, the higher the output among students. This is manifested not only in high individual averages, but in overall high class averages. It is, therefore, a very effective tool to keep your high achievers achieving.

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Comments 12 comments

Professor Jaisome 5 years ago

Muy Excelente


Gloria McLawrence 4 years ago from St. Maarten

So true.


Joyette  Fabien profile image

Joyette Fabien 4 years ago from Dominica Author

Thanks for reading, Gloria.


StegToDiffer profile image

StegToDiffer 4 years ago from New York, NY

Grades are overrated for most, but for the top 3-4 in a class they are far from trivial. Good Hub.


Joyette  Fabien profile image

Joyette Fabien 4 years ago from Dominica Author

StegTo Differ, thanks for reading and for your comment.


Vinod 23 months ago

Thanks for a very good summary. There is so much cnooradicttry information out there, and people are inclined to think they have to focus on this year's one big thing' and forget the rest. It seems to me that if people simply take part in discussions and just be part of the web and participate in the places that suit their personalities they will not only build up links back to their sites but it will be more natural, less likely to crash and burn with the next algorithm change, and they will enjoy themselves, instead of trying to outsmart everyone else and second-guess the search engines.Tony recently posted..


Chriswillman90 profile image

Chriswillman90 22 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

I agree with healthy competition and it is necessary. There's potential in all of us so students should feel the need to reach beyond their boundaries and become all they can be. Great read.


Joyette  Fabien profile image

Joyette Fabien 22 months ago from Dominica Author

Thanks, Chriswillman90. We should certainly encourage them to do so!


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 13 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Totally agree with you that competition is healthy.


Joyette  Fabien profile image

Joyette Fabien 13 months ago from Dominica Author

Thank you for your support, aesta1


livetech profile image

livetech 9 months ago from United Kingdom

Every student needs the basic foundation that starts at home. With this basic needs catered for, every student has a chance to excel in school, of which I believe competition is essential


Joyette  Fabien profile image

Joyette Fabien 9 months ago from Dominica Author

I agree, livetech!

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