Should we put a price on exam success this year?

With exam season around the corner, many parents are keen to find incentives for their children to perform well and earn top grades. According to data from OneFamily, nearly 8 in ten parents admit to rewarding good grades, while the average amount paid out per child is £150. So, are monetary incentives the best way to motivate your children?

The Pros 

Proponents of offering financial incentives argue that it can serve as a powerful motivator, encouraging students to invest more time and effort into their studies. By attaching a tangible reward to academic success, students may develop a stronger work ethic, increased focus, and a sense of responsibility for their education. It can be difficult for children to fully understand the importance of public exams, whereas a financial incentive is clearly desirable.  

Furthermore, this approach mirrors the workplace where hard work is generally rewarded financially. Introducing monetary rewards early on can prepare students for the competitive nature of the workforce, helping them develop valuable skills such as discipline, time management, and goal setting. 

The Cons  

On the flip side, putting a price on exam success may undermine the intrinsic motivation for learning. When students are solely motivated by money, there is a risk that the joy of learning and personal growth may take a back seat. Critics fear that this approach may lead children to associate success only with monetary rewards, potentially neglecting the importance of intellectual curiosity and passion for knowledge. 

Additionally, there is a risk that monetary incentives convey a message that exam success is more important than other aspects of your child’s development.  

A Middle Ground 

Rather than taking a rigid stance on either side of the debate, some argue for a balanced approach that integrates both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. While financial incentives may serve as initial motivators, educators and parents should also strive to foster a genuine love for learning and personal growth. By promoting a holistic approach to education, students can be encouraged to discover their interests, set personal goals, and derive satisfaction from their academic achievements beyond monetary rewards. 

Furthermore, there are many alternatives to money which can be used as a motivator. You could instead choose to reward your child with other gifts such as: 

  • Driving Lessons 
  • Concert Tickets 
  • Special Privileges 
  • A meal out 


The question of whether we should put a price on exam success remains a divisive issue. While financial incentives may provide a short-term boost in motivation and support for some students, the potential risks to intrinsic motivation and mental well-being should not be overlooked.  

Ultimately, there is no right answer, and you should find a solution which works best for your child, in order to foster a well-rounded educational experience that prepares students for success in both academic and personal realms. 


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