With the “opt-out movement” growing across the nation, causing tens of thousands of parents to choose to take their children out of school on days scheduled for standardized testing to take place, some schools are choosing to bribe their students who participate in Common Core testing with extra treats for those who receive high scores.
Students who do not participate in the exam receive a zero, which affects school performance scores for each state.
In Louisiana, a Facebook page entitled the “official page for Buckeye High School” is promoting incentives for its junior high school students who participate in the standardized testing. The page, which is reportedly run by school administration, offers students the incentive of coming to school for the rest of the school year not in school uniform “just for taking/showing effort on PARCC/LEAP/iLEAP.”
Rapides Schools Superintendent Nason “Tony” Authement said the incentive was not passed down from the district-level, writes Leigh Guidry for The Town Talk.
“Schools can develop their own incentive plans,” he said. “They certainly are at liberty to put in place individual plans.”
Such incentives for academic accomplishments is nothing new. For years students have been bribed with extra recess time, pizza parties and less homework if they perform well on a task at school, reports Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, other areas, like Hamilton, New Jersey, are taking away incentives. Hamilton school officials recently took away an incentive set by district schools that would have offered rewards including a $5 gift card due to the “sensitivity” surrounding the PARCC exams.
“I told the schools not to have motivational things, incentives or anything,” said Steve Bollar, who was named acting superintendent last week. “Let’s run it clean, let’s get through it, let’s not worry about these kinds of things as well.”
A note had been sent home to the parents detailing the incentives and the actions students could take to earn points and receive the rewards. These actions included coming to school on time each day, participating in the exam, eating a good breakfast, getting enough sleep, coming to school for each testing day, and checking their work after completing the exam.
At the end of the week, the five students who had earned the most points would receive a $5 gift card from their teacher.
However, a number of parents called Bollar’s office to express concerns over the incentives – and students’ taking the exam in the first place.
Parents and educators across the country have expressed feelings that the questions included on the exam are too difficult for students and that the long tests take away from classroom time.