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10/22/2015 6:29:00 PM
Rewarding AP students with cash pays off in higher scores, enrollment

Michelle Sokol, Elkhart Truth

Money motivates.

That became clear in three Elkhart County high schools where students were paid $100 in cash if they earned a qualifying score on math, science or English Advanced Placement exams.

They payments were part of a statewide program called the AP-TIP IN, or Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program Indiana. In addition to providing financial motivators to teachers and students for increased AP participation and performance, the program provided students with extra learning support and teachers with extra professional development.

The program was piloted in three Elkhart County schools — Concord High School, Elkhart Central High School and Elkhart Memorial High School — beginning in 2012, and new results show it accomplished just what it was supposed to.

Since 2012, enrollment in math, science and English AP courses increased 130 percent at the three schools. The number of students earning qualifying scores, which are accepted for credit at many colleges and universities throughout the nation, increased by 79 percent.

“The stories here are wonderful,” said Karen Morris, director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame, which oversees the AP-TIP IN program. “They show the dedication of the teachers and administrators and the school corporations to helping their students become college- and career-ready.”

The statewide program, which is being piloted in 30 high schools across the state, is a partnership between the National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI) and Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives. In a ranking of 34 countries by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, U.S. students finished 27th in math and 20th in science — and the NMSI saw that as a problem.

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