Gone are the days of the gold star, or the smiley-face on the graded test ... now two schools are stepping up their good-grades game by offering a more serious incentive: 100 dollars in cash.
NBC's WAVY station reports AP students at Salem and Green Run High Schools will receive the cash for each Advanced Placement exam they score a "3," "4," or "5" on. AP exams are graded on a five-point scale.
The program is made possible by a privately backed grant, and is meant to cover the cost of the exams, leaving likely only $20 for students.
Although the incentive has garnered praise among education scholars, The Virginian-Pilot reports, some are arguing the money would be better spent hiring more teachers to reduce class size.
"The incentive portion gives me pause," said Dominic Melito, president of the Virginia Beach Education Association, told The Virginian-Pilot. "To me, this seems like a back-door way to try out a policy without having public input."
School Board chairman Dan Edwards told the paper he doesn't see a problem with it.
"It isn't local money, and I don't really see a downside to it." Edwards told The Virginian-Pilot. "I'm actually interested to see how it turns out."
The program comes months after the College Board's 7th Annual AP Report to the Nation, which revealed that the number of minority students passing the exams is still disproportionately low:
"... Of the half a million students who passed an AP exam, only 14.6 percent of those were Hispanic or Latino. For black students, the statistic was even lower -- 3.9 percent."