Kentucky Bill Promises Cash for Strong AP Scores

By Erik W. Robelen — January 06, 2011 1 min read
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A proposed measure in Kentucky would offer a different spin on the concept of teacher performance pay: A teacher would get money for each student who performs well on AP exams in math or science. An Associated Press story highlights the bill, which won approval yesterday by the state’s Senate Education Committee.

Under the legislation, a teacher could be rewarded with $500 for each low-income student who scores a 5 on an Advanced Placement exam in math or science, the story says. The reward would drop to $400 for each student scoring a 4 and $300 for each score of 3. Five is the top score, and scores of 3 or 4 are considered good, Lisa Gross, a state Education Department spokeswoman, told the Associated Press.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Republican Sen. Ken Winters, who chairs the education panel, said he borrowed the idea from an initiative called AdvanceKentucky that is funded mostly by private grants.

That program, developed in partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative, includes a range of supports and incentives to prod more students to take and succeed in AP courses, including financial bonuses to students and their teachers. This press release explains more about that program and the results in 2010.

Under the Kentucky bill, teachers could also earn money, but smaller amounts, for students who are not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and meet the scoring targets, the Associated Press story says.

Individual teachers could receive up to $7,500 each year. In addition, the schools housing those teachers would also received reward money.

As noted above, the concept of paying teachers (and students) for high AP scores is not new. An EdWeek story from 2003 looked at some examples in Texas. Another story from 2008 highlighted one study on the impact of such activities.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.