07/30/2012 05:52 pm ET

D.C. At-Risk Students Paid $5.25 An Hour To Attend Summer School Through Summer Bridge Program

The District of Columbia is paying more than 300 students $5.25 an hour to attend summer school, the Washington Examiner reports.

The "Summer Bridge" program pays rising ninth-graders who are identified as "less likely than their peers" to graduate on time, the Examiner explains.

According to the report, only 53 percent of D.C. public school (DCPS) students graduate high school within four years -- a number the summer program hopes to elevate. Melissa Salmanowitz, a spokesperson for Chancellor Kaya Henderson, told the paper that officials plan to examine the results to determine whether the program should be extended.

The Summer Bridge program comes after a similar 2008 district experiment, in which some students were given points -- each worth $2 -- for good grades, behavior and attendance.

Harvard economist Roland Fryer was the motivating force behind the Pay-To-Behave program, saying money can be used as a reward to underperforming and unmotivated students.

"The theory here is to try innovative things that will help children achieve," Fryer told NPR in 2008. "In our urban centers, we're spending $12,000, $15,000 a kid, and we're not getting any results. So we must do something."

Although grades didn't improve significantly following the Pay-To-Behave experiment, D.C.'s standardized test scores are currently up 2.8 percent in math, 5.3 percent in science and 0.5 percent in reading.