Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Paying Students to Pass Tests

Interesting concept, pay students to perform. This approach - paying for passed AP tests - is more sensible than a failed attempt I'm familiar with, which payed students to just show up. The early results are promising - a 17% year-to-year increase in the number of tests taken, and a 20% increase in the number of tests passed, but I'm not convinced this is the solution to our education woes. For example, how do you scale this approach? And what happens to these kids next year, and the following year, when the financial incentive goes away.

Schools in Reach Program Report That More Pass A.P. Tests
A program that offers students up to $1,000 for passing Advanced Placement exams has shown some success, with more students at 31 city high schools earning passing scores, according to officials in charge of the effort.

The program, called Reach, or Rewarding Achievement, involves students at 26 public and 5 Catholic schools with large minority enrollments. The number of students passing A.P. exams at those schools rose this year to 1,240 from 1,161.

The number of tests taken at those schools — many students take tests in multiple subjects — increased by more than 800, to 5,436, and the number of passing grades by 302, to 1,774. The passing rate edged up slightly, to 33 percent from 32.

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