TAKS Returns And Incentives Rewarded To Students Who Score High

At Troup ISD, state honors hang proudly in the hallways. School administrators said it's due to their TAKS incentive program, giving prizes up to 100 dollars for a high score.

"We've given bicycles, pigs, lizards, I pods," said Troup ISD Superintendent Marvin Beaty.

But they must be commended scores, meaning a high A. For example, out of 48 questions, students must answer 46 correctly on a test. Since the program started in Troup in 2004, there's been a significant increase in the number of commended scores.

"Even younger kids in the second grade question us every year, 'is this program going to be around next year? I want a chance to win my 100 dollars,' said Beaty.

But what happened to "hard work is its own reward?"

"For those who might criticize the program, our kids have to work for this money because it's commended performance, not just passing," said Beaty.

New Summerfield just passed a similar program, giving students 20-dollar coupons for each section they pass.

"There's a Texas Advance Placement Program where they're offering 500 dollars for students who pass their AP courses," said New Summerfield ISD Superintendent Gregg Weiss.  "We read that and studies from Cornell University that said there was a 30% increase in students scoring higher on their SAT's and ACT's, so we thought that's a good incentive for our students."

More motivation to "tackle the TAKS" that some schools hope will pay off even more in the long run.

"It gives them a microcosmic explanation to follow of what happens when you grow up," said Beaty.  "You do good at work, you gain a higher salary, you have other rewards."

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Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com