Houston pays kids, parents for math scores

Houston will  pay fifth graders and their parents at 25 schools to see if incentives, worh up to $1,020 per family, can boost low math scores. The Dallas-based Liemandt Foundation is providing $1.5 million for the experiment.

The pilot program — thought to be the first that offers joint incentives for parents and students — will allow fifth-graders to earn up to $440 for passing short math tests that show they have mastered key concepts, according to the draft proposal. Parents will get slightly less money for their children doing the work, and they can earn an extra $180 for attending nine conferences with teachers to review the youngsters’ progress.

Teachers can earn up to $40 per student for holding the parent conferences. The district already rewards teachers and school staff for boosting students’ scores on standardized tests.

In HISD, the students and their parents will get $2 for each math objective the child masters. Students will get practice math assignments on a total of 200 concepts and then will take a five-question test. They will get the money for correctly answering at least four questions on each, according to the draft proposal.

Parents will get their money in the form of debit-like cards. The district plans to encourage the students to get their money directly deposited into a savings account that HISD will help set up. Workshops on savings and financial management are included in the project.

Previous pay-for-performance experiments have shown mixed results.

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  1. More than one thousand percent per family! Wow! But percent of what?

  2. Back in the 1950’s Robert Heinlein wrote a story that included some headlines from the future, meant to shock. I remember one that seemed patently ridiculous when I read it in the 1960’s: “Students demand higher pay, right to select teachers.”

  3. Homeschooling Granny says:

    But before a student can master a concept it has to be taught in a manner appropriate to the student to learn. What curriculum(s) will the Houston schools use?