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Students Get Prizes for Attending Proficiency Exams | News

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Students Get Prizes for Attending Proficiency Exams

LAS VEGAS -- This is the week many high schools students across Nevada dread. Proficiency exams started Monday and schools are hoping for better attendance and higher scores to meet federal guidelines.

Some schools are doing whatever it takes to get kids in their seats, even giving away prizes. Come to school, get an iPhone. That's the message at Del Sol High School.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors are taking the science portion of their proficiency exams now and they can win prizes just for showing up.

Del Sol has a daily attendance rate around 90-percent, but they need 95-percent to meet federal standards.

Last year, the administration started giving away prizes for coming to class.This year's prizes include candy bars, movie tickets, iPods, iPhones, even a 32-inch flat screen TV. In total, the prizes cost $2,000 and all of it was paid for by the student store.

Del Sol Principal Betsy Angelcor says this initiative isn't ideal, but it works.

"The bottom line is a lot of our kids don't have the support from home to motivate them to come one way or the other. So basically we're enticing them. It's kind of like a bribe and we all work for a bribe in some way or another, but we have to have 95-percent attendance to meet No Child Left Behind," she said.

The bribery is working. Only 12 out of 1,200 students missed school Monday and they're hoping the trend will continue for math and reading Tuesday and then writing on Wednesday.

Del Sol hasn't made the grade in proficiency exams in the last four years, but this year they got Title I funding that allowed them to pay teachers to tutor between classes.

They only need to show a 10-percent improvement from last year for sophomores, so they're hoping an iPod will be the lucky charm.