DOE To Pay Students For High Test Scores
06/08/2007 10:23 AM
The Department of Education plans to implement a program this fall whereby it will offer students financial incentives for scoring well on new assessment tests.
Copyright © 2008 NY1 News
The higher they score, the more money they will make.
The program would be open to students in as many as 400 empowerment schools throughout the city.
Students in grades four and seven can earn up to $50 for a perfect score on the new McGraw Hill tests and they would be paid just for taking the exams.
Every fourth-grader would get paid $5 for just taking the test, while seventh-graders kids would get $10. Fourth-graders who ace the test would get $25, and seventh-graders would get $50.
Each school that participates in the incentive plan gets $5,000.
The Department of Education consultant who issued the announcement to elementary school principals declined to speak with NY1 and referred questions to the DOE, which finally, late Friday said, "Performance-based incentives are one element in a range of strategies we are considering. We are still at a preliminary stage in considering how to implement such a program."
"If we aren't looking at everything, shame on us,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “I hope there are people thinking about how we would implement that and every other idea."
The tests, which were announced last week, will be given five times per year in addition to regular state English and math tests.
Some parents and officials are worried that the rewards are misguided.
"It is your responsibility as a parent for the kids to come to school and get the tests that they have to,” said one parent. “I don't think you should pay them."
"It's seductively simple, but it doesn't reward effort; it rewards an outcome that a child may or may not be capable of doing,” said United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
Regardless of what she thinks of the plan, Weingarten was steamed that the DOE had not told her about it, and said she had no plans to call the mayor to ask him about it.
"Frankly, I would not demean myself in terms of that kind of thing,” she said. “They have a responsibility to consult."
Critics also say the money should be used to improve schools.