Standardized tests are everywhere now—students in certain grades are required to be assessed on certain subjects, which may include mathematics, reading, science, and social studies (the subjects tested depend upon the grade level).
The tests can be quite challenging for many students. So, in order to motivate kids to try their best, some schools are offering incentives for good scores.
Yes, some school districts across the country are actually giving out prizes and money for achieving good scores on the state tests. In one school district in Ohio, students with ‘proficient’ scores on the state tests are given $15 in school bucks; students with better results may receive $20. The most a student can earn is $100—but, some students may come away with $0. School bucks can be redeemed at over 100 stores in the community.
Other school districts across the country have similar programs. A district in Florida offers students the chance to win free tickets to school events for passing the state exams. That same district also gives away iPods to some lucky students at each Saturday study session for the state standardized tests. The iPod giveaways are done in order to encourage more students to show up and participate.
Some people feel as if giving out incentives for good performance on the state tests can persuade students to take the tests more seriously and to study and prepare for the tests. But others disagree—they believe that the state tests are stressful enough without students competing for prizes.
There are not a lot of school districts now that are offering incentive programs—yet. But, once the test scores come back from the districts that do have such programs…well, that may change. Schools everywhere—including here in New York—have their eyes on these incentive programs, and if they are successful, they may end up adopting the programs themselves.