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Cash for AP Scores Leads to Better College Performance

As more students begin taking the tests, the numbers of those failing to get a passing score on them is on the rise, The New York Times reported...


As more students begin taking the tests, the numbers of those failing to get a passing score on them is on the rise, The New York Times reported last week. This probably won't come as a surprise, but it turns out money is an effective carrot for improving students' performances on Advanced Placement tests.

Kirabo Jackson, an economist at Cornell, showed last year that an incentive program that rewards both teachers and students, which schools in Texas began implementing in 1996, improves more than just AP scores:
Establishment of APIP results in a 30 percent increase in the number of students scoring above 1100 on the SAT or above 24 on the ACT, and an 8 percent increase in the number of students at a high school who enroll in a college or university in Texas. ... The program is not associated with improved high school graduation rates or increases in the number of students taking college entrance exams, suggesting that the APIP improves the outcomes of high-achieving students rather than those students who may not have graduated from high school or even applied to college.

Jackson has expanded on his previous findings with a new study that probed whether these incentives have negative effects on students future schooling (by monkeying with their reasons for learning). As pointed out by Martin West, executive editor of Education Next, Jackson shows that these incentivized students matriculate to college in greater numbers and that, among Hispanics and black students, GPAs and college completion rates are higher.

Says West: "... the study provides an unfortunately rare example of a late-high-school intervention that seems to yield lasting benefits for students."

Photo (cc) by Flickr user gruntzooki










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