By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – My favorite education columnist, Jay Mathews in The Washington Post, discusses a controversial topic – paying kids for achievement. The idea always brings vehement reactions.

Mathew’s curiosity was aroused recently when three Stafford County, Maryland schools had big increases in Advanced Placement tests, those exams for which high schoolers can get college credit. He then realized that Virginia Advanced Study Strategies had given them a grant to strengthen Advanced Placement – $100 per teacher and $100 per student, at a value of nearly $250,000.

The initiative is in 560 schools in 22 states despite much research that material rewards kill intrinsic motivation.

At Northwestern University, bonuses and extra support sparked an increase for 18 AP and IB, international baccalaureate test takers, primarily for black and hispanic students.

There are more studies cited in the article, pro and con; but Mathews says that if the National Math and Science Initiative, which gives teachers training and students money, offers a school that incentive, take it and see what happens!

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