Re: Bribing Students for Test Scores -- Need More Examples
Well, is the message "Cheat but don't get caught," or isn't it? You're
right there, how are the rest of us supposed to know?
If that really is the message, that's trouble for parents and kids, and
public education, more so if it's widespread and not merely the actions
of a few bad apples - so what are you doing about it? You're speaking
as a union leader so I would have hoped to see something more
From: Jack Gerson <email@example.com>
Sent: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 10:04 am
Subject: Re: [arn-l] Bribing Students for Test Scores -- Need More
Manny's right. Some Oakland teachers have been encouraged to "actively
proctor" (i.e., coach) during high-stakes test administration. At the
time, in the same Eli Broad-controlled school district, some Oakland
teachers are disciplined for daring to speak encouragingly to students
coaching, encouraging) during test administration. Last year, several
teachers at one Oakland small high school were "caught" talking to
during administration of the California High School Exit Examination,
were all forced to resign under threat of action to suspend their
credentials. What's the impicit message here? "Cheat, but don't let us
you at it." Which is the same message high stakes testing sends to our
Executive Board, Oakland Education Association
On Jan 23, 2008 11:02 PM, Manny Lopez <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
While I can't speak to "bribes" and or "bounties", I can speak to
encouraged to "actively proctor" during high-stakes test
have "test chats" with my students, and to inform certain parents of
right (at least in California) to waive their children/students from
high-stakes tests. Guess which parents. Of course, I didn't do any
above and was also asked if I could use help in proctoring to which I
replied, "Be my guest" as I always have things to do in the classroom
behind my desk that directly concern my students. Count me in on any
attempt by anyone to get this in some sort of record. The truth must
told and I'm so plainly unafraid.
Secretary, Oakland Education Association
p.s. I have actual documents to support these claims and will offer
to interested parties should they deem it relevant if not necessary.
Bob Schaeffer <email@example.com> wrote:
If you are aware of other cases of student "bribes" or teacher
"bounties" for high test scores, please let us know -- major media are
pursuing this topic.
SCHOOLS TO OFFER PAY FOR SCORES
CITY INCENTIVES UP TO $110 PER STUDENT FOR GRADUATION TESTS
Baltimore Sun -- January 23, 2007
by Sara Neufeld
The Baltimore school system will pay high school students who improve
their scores on the state graduation exams up to $110 each, a
controversial plan that would be a first in Maryland.
The system will spend $935,622 on the student incentives, part of a
million plan to help students struggling to pass Maryland's High
Assessments that administrators presented to the school board last
State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick approved the plan last week.
in a letter to city schools chief Andres Alonso, she expressed concern
about the "lack of ... research" supporting student incentives and
required the system to closely track student results.
Grasmick's OK was necessary because the system is funding the plan
money from the settlement of a dispute over a federal audit, and the
state must approve how that money is spent.
Financial incentives for students are being used in New York City,
Alonso was deputy chancellor before becoming CEO of the Baltimore
schools in July. In a program created by a Harvard economist that
last fall, students in New York can earn up to $500 for test scores
According to accounts in The New York Times, the program has been
controversial, pitting educators who believe that students should
for the love of it against leaders eager to reverse the tide of low
While the New York program uses private money for the student
incentives, Baltimore is using public dollars. Alonso also said the
programs are different because New York's is for younger students and
strictly about incentives. The incentives in Baltimore are part of a
broader strategy to help older students pass high-stakes tests.
Here, students who have failed at least one exam will earn $25 for
improving test performance by 5 percent from where they started,
according to the proposal submitted to Grasmick. If they improve an
additional 15 percent, they will get $35 more. And 20 percent more
growth earns an added $50, for a maximum of $110.
Starting with the Class of 2009, this year's juniors, students must
basic skills exams in algebra, English, biology and government, or
a combined passing score, to earn a high school diploma. But earlier
this year, the state school board approved the option of a senior
project for those who do not pass the exams, and since then principals
have worried that they won't be able to keep struggling students
motivated to learn the material.
In an interview before last night's board meeting, Alonso said
incentives for students have the potential to be "tremendously
fruitful." The system's proposal said the incentives are designed to
affect enrollment, attendance and test pass rates by giving students a
reason to attend tutoring after school hours.
Robert Schaeffer, public education director for the National Center
Fair and Open Testing, said the practice of paying students for
test scores is gaining popularity nationally. He said schools in at
least a dozen states are offering incentives.
Schaeffer, whose organization is critical of the standardized testing
movement, called the practice a "bribe" for students and a bounty for
teachers. Incentives "may temporarily boost scores and make districts
look a little better, but in the long run, there is no evidence that
they improve educational quality, close achievement gaps or make kids
into better students," he said. "They're like steroids, a short-term
performance boost. The long-term impact may be damaging.
"They distort the purpose of education, the belief that kids will do
better for the money and create false expectations about everything
those students will do: Why aren't they bribing me in my social
class? How much will they bribe me in college?"
In the coming weeks, 34 Baltimore schools will be receiving a slice of
the $6.3 million for interventions to help students struggling on the
tests. Each of those schools must submit a plan detailing how it will
spend the money by June 2009.
The money will target more than 5,000 students in the classes of 2009
and 2010 who have failed at least one of the four High School
Assessments. The largest dollar amounts will go to the schools with
largest number of struggling students.
The bulk of the money will go to more traditional interventions. The
biggest chunk, $3.1 million, will be spent on extra help for students
after school and on Saturdays, including one-on-one tutoring.
Tutoring will be provided by students' peers who have passed the
in addition to college students, school staff and state-approved
About $700,000 will be allocated specifically to pay high school and
college students for tutoring work. Alonso said after the meeting that
he is trying to provide schools with "a set of tools to motivate every
There will also be an extra 10 days of training this summer for
of the tested subjects.
The school system would have had to return the $6.3 million to the
federal government by next year if it had not found a way to spend it
that the Maryland State Department of Education approved. As the
is projecting $50 million in budget cuts for the next academic year,
officials said they need to make use of all the money they can find.
The money was an outcome of a 2004 audit of how the school system was
spending its Title 1 money, federal funds earmarked for schools
large numbers of poor children. The purpose of Title 1 money is to
poor children services beyond those that other students have, but the
audit found the system using it for routine operations.
As a result, state officials said in July 2004 that the system might
have to repay $18 million in Title I money. To prevent that, the city
schools and the state education department went through months of
<>A deal was announced in October 2005 in which the system agreed to
aside $9 million for extra tutoring and programs for the needy
the $18 million was meant to serve. According to the terms of the
agreement, the state needed to approve how the $9 million was spent
three years. Until now, only $2.7 million has been spent.
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