Coshocton, Ohio schools are offering performance pay to students.
The third- through sixth-graders in the study receive $15 for every score of “proficient” on a state exam and $20 for better results — so they can collect $100 if they have high scores in all five subjects. The money comes as gift certificates redeemable at a local pizza parlor and Wal-Mart.
Coshocton manufacturer Robert Simpson paid for the project with a $100,000 grant from his family foundation, and says the foundation is ready to take the rewards districtwide if the data and the community support it.
The small district is in the third and final year of a study conducted by a Case Western economics professor, Eric Bettinger.
For the experiment, entire grades from the city’s four elementary schools were randomly chosen to either receive the rewards or not.
Although Bettinger is not releasing his study results early, the district has climbed out of the state’s “academic emergency” ranking since the rewards began. It is now two notches higher, at “effective” status.
Using foundation money, a number of Texas districts pay students for passing AP exams. (Usually their teachers get bonuses too.) It’s boosted the number of low-income and minority students taking and passing AP exams.