Dozens of students at Howard High School in Georgia pocketed $100 each for every Advanced Placement English, math or science exam they passed with a 3, 4 or 5 — as did their teachers, the Macon Telegraph reports.
The cash incentive for success on AP tests is through a grant funded by the Northrop Grumman Corp. as part of the National Math and Science Initiative. It is intended to boost participation in AP classes.
Howard is one of just 28 high schools nationwide — and the only one in Georgia — included in the grant, which is for at least $238,000 for three years, beginning with the 2011-12 academic year.
At a ceremony on Monday, it was announced that the grant helped increase participation in AP courses by 173 percent and raised qualifying scores by 156 percent. The latter figure represents 21 times the national average and 12 times the average in Georgia.
The Associated Press reports a total of $25,000 was awarded to 63 students. Teachers also earned $100 for each of their students who received a passing score; five of Howard’s AP teachers took home an additional $1,000 for meeting their goal for the number of students passing, according to the Telegraph.
“Each teacher is here three Saturdays, at least, all day,” Suzanne Spaid, Howard’s designated administrator of the grant, told the paper. “Besides that, AP generates so much more reading. It’s a lot of work.”
She said teachers also traveled to Texas twice for workshops and administered mock exams to students in preparation for the real AP test.
AP students at Salem and Green Run High Schools in Virginia also receive $100 in cash for passing scores as part of the National Math and Science Initiative. At the time of the program’s implementation last year, some argued the money would be better spent hiring more teachers to reduce class size. However, School Board chairman Dan Edwards said he didn’t see a downside to the incentive, as it wasn’t using local money.