A Little Now for a Lot Later: A Look at a Texas Advanced Placement Incentive Program
I analyze a program implemented in Texas schools serving underprivileged populations that pays both students and teachers for passing grades on Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, I find that program adoption is associated with increased AP course and exam taking, increases in the number of students with high SAT/ACT scores, and increases in college matriculation. The rewards don’t appear to distort behaviors in undesirable ways, and I present evidence that teachers and students were not simply maximizing rewards. Guidance counselors credit the improvements to greater AP access, changes in social norms towards APs, and better student information.
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