New York offers cash incentives for students who pass tests

Filed under: Teens, Playground Bureau, Day Care & Education

If students are expected to treat school as their work, it stands to reason that they then be compensated for a job well done. In academics, good work is reflected by good grades or test scores and in New York, kids are getting paid up to a thousand dollars for doing well on Advanced Placement tests.

While it hasn't yet been proven that reimbursing for grades can actual increases test scores, one of the results of the program being funded by private donations, corporations, and foundations is that more kids are taking the tests. In fact, the number students taking the AP test in New York rose slightly this past year, but the number who passed fell but still, it's a start.

Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, a Washington research group that works on closing the racial achievement explains why the program is worth a try. "There's some part of all of us that gets a little queasy at this sort of buying stuff," she said. "That said, the problem of under-performance, especially among poor and minority kids, is so serious and has been with us for so long that I'm not begrudging anybody who has good will here from trying something so we can hopefully learn something from it. Frankly, rich kids get paid for high grades all the time and for high test scores by their parents, so this isn't so different."

If cash motivates students to study and do better, I'm all for it. I offered my sons iPods for being on the honor roll for the entire year last school year and having to buy one in June was a great day for him and for me!

Is paying for high test scores a good idea?
Sure, if it gets more kids to take the test, it can only be a good thing.54 (48.6%)
I'm not sure, it just doesn't feel right to me.22 (19.8%)
No way, financial reimbursement cheapens that good feeling of accomplishment.35 (31.5%)

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.