This teacher replied, "Well, I thought I would give the assignment some 'teeth' and tell them it was worth 100 points and would severely impact their grade if they didn't do it, but I can't believe half of them still didn't turn it in! Now a lot of them are failing the class, and it doesn't seem to matter to them!"
That's because points don't work.
In my 15 years of teaching, I've seen this over and over again (yet stupidly kept trying to use points as an incentive, being a fantastic example of the definition of insanity). Most students don't really care about points. Only the ones who like and are good at playing the game of school care about them, but for some other reward they are getting vicariously through the accumulation of those points (such as not getting in trouble at home, or because achieving high grades based on points is interwoven into their student identities and mindsets). And, in my opinion, points are simply an intangible reward system that only fosters a "I'll do it only if there's something in it for me" mentality in students. And it seems that having points be the "it" in what's in it for them isn't working.
So why not change the "doing the work for points" idea into a "doing the work to improve my learning?" idea?
Our school has posters of this in every classroom:
It's this trust that is a part of the last part of the rigor/relevancy framework that's not on that colorful little chart--relationships. I'll be honest, I am not a nurturing kind of gal; it's not in my nature to overtly nurture. But this year, because of our district's focus on these three Rs, I have made it a personal goal to do a better job at building relationships with my students. This doesn't mean making 100+ new BFFs every year. It means saying hello to each of them by name as they come in to your classroom. (Don't think this makes a difference? Do it every day for one week, then don't do it one day. Your students will let you know they miss it.) It means explaining to them the purpose of each activity, what mastery looks like for each learning objective, and what the activities and objectives will do for their learning. It means pouring over formative assessment data and talking to individual students one-on-one about what you and the student can do to help them improve--and fostering the belief of continuous improvement in students who believe that students are either smart or stupid. It means that, when you see that two of your students are failing another class, you e-mail them and let them know you're there for them if they need you. It means creating a classroom environment that is safe for failure and lets students know that we're all in this "learning thing" together.
In sum, it's about respecting the learner. From what I've seen in my classroom so far this year, if students know you care about them, provide a safe place for learning, and respect them, they will trust you. And then they will work for you and their learning--not for points.