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Archive for Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Some N.Y. students can take A.P. test scores to the bank

October 16, 2007

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Get a top score on an Advanced Placement exam in May in any of 31 New York high schools that serve low-income neighborhoods, and you'll get $1,000.

The Council of Urban Professionals and the Pershing Square Foundation were to announce the program Monday at one of the participating schools in central Harlem, the Frederick Douglass Academy.

It is part of an expanding movement to use cash to motivate good performance on the college-level exams, despite some educators' concerns that monetary incentives might undermine the love of learning and hurt teacher morale.

In March, a group of educators and business executives called the National Math and Science Initiative said they planned to pay $250 for every A.P. passing score (3 or higher on the 5-point scale) in science, English and math at participating schools. Some educators have applauded the idea, particularly for low-income students, pointing to the success of a similar program in Dallas. Others say it could destroy the faculty team spirit that has brought success to some schools using A.P. in urban neighborhoods.

The national initiative, backed by $140 million in foundation grants, will start in Virginia and six other states as soon as the participating schools are picked.

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