Pass a test, get a prize

California legislators want to encourage schools to reward middle and high school students for achievement or improvement on standardized tests. The bill ban cash incentives — and provides no extra cash to schools — but suggests principals offer freebies donated by local businesses. Reach “proficient,” get a pizza.

California’s standardized tests (STAR) are high stakes for schools but not for students, who start to catch on to that in high school. It would make more sense to exempt students from the graduation exam or the college entrance test if they ace STAR.

About Joanne


  1. Ha, ha. Exempt them from the college admissions test? Are you serious? Good lord. You might want to think that through. You planning on restricting each kid to public schools in their state?

    More logically, why not create equivalencies between college entrance exams and STAR testing and allow students to opt out of STAR? Certainly the college entrance exams are more rigorous, and they are good throughout the nation, unlike STAR tests.

  2. I should have been more specific. I was thinking of college placement tests, which determine whether students have to take remedial English or math, not college admissions tests.

  3. Oh! Sarcasm retracted. Yes, that would be a good idea.

    High schools and college admissions yammer on about grades, grades, grades. But once a student gets in the door, it’s all about test scores. Students could cut a year off of their attendance if they come in with the right scores.

  4. California State law now prohibits using pizza to reward students.