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April 18, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

New Report Finds Performance Pay Policies Have Positive Impact on Student Performance
AP bonus program helped Florida outperform the national average

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced the release of a new report that finds pay-for-performance policies, like Florida's Advanced Placement (AP) Bonus Program, often have a positive impact on improved student performance. The report, Performance Pay IS Paying Off in Florida, demonstrates that the number of teachers and students participating in AP courses has increased since Florida began its performance pay incentive program in 1999.

"Since the implementation of this program, record numbers of students are taking advanced coursework and pre-college exams with our minority test-takers surpassing national averages — rewarding teachers for increased student performance," said Commissioner Winn.

In 1998, the Florida Legislature enacted legislation to create a financial incentive for teachers to teach AP courses. Based solely on test scores, teachers are eligible for a bonus of $50 per student for each student who scores a three or higher on the College Board AP exam. A three is considered a passing score. In addition, teachers teaching at a "D" or "F" school who have at least one student who earns a three or higher on the exam is awarded an additional $500 bonus. During the 2004-2005 school year, more than $2.2 million were distributed in AP bonuses.

JoAnne Boggus, a retired school principal from Ft. Lauderdale High School, says in the report that "AP courses are so superior…The Governor and Legislature gave us a partnership with programs that have national standards that everyone understands."

Since 1999, Florida has experienced a 66 percent increase in the number of teachers teaching AP courses. The report notes these teachers "are not afraid of performance pay." In the last six years, Florida experienced a 104 percent increase in the number of exam takers, 113 percent increase in the number of exams taken, and an 81 percent increase in students scoring a three or better on an AP exam. Findings in the report suggest that performance pay plans have no adverse affect on teachers or students.

"I love teaching AP courses," said Director of AP Program and AP English Literature and Composition Teacher Deborah Shepard, Lincoln High School, Tallahassee. "Not only am I helping these students prepare for college, earn college credit and bolster their self esteem, I am rewarded for helping them achieve their goals. Pay-for-performance policies make sense and this AP bonus program proves it."

According to the report, Florida's students continue to excel in participation and performance on AP courses. The Sunshine State has the second greatest increase in public school AP exam-takers when compared to all other states from 2004 to 2005, and the second largest increase among all states in the number of students passing (earning scores of three to five) AP exams. The number of African-American and Hispanic students participating has close to tripled since 1999. AP participation for Hispanic students in Florida's public schools is close to double the participation of Hispanic students seen nationwide for the second year in a row. Florida leads the nation with the largest number of African-American students taking AP exams and passing them.

To download a copy of the report, visit (404KB)