Teenagers given cars to reward exam success

Apparently achieving top grades isn’t enough to make A-level students work hard – parents offer them all sorts of expensive incentives, and boys get more than girls.

Over a third of teenagers are offered a financial incentive for doing well in their exams, the Telegraph reports.

According to a survey of 1,000 commissioned by Leeds Metropolitan University, 11% have been offered a car and more than one in 10 have been offered a holiday or a laptop.

Hard cash is always popular, with some sixth formers being offered up to £2,000 for an A*, though £100 is more typical. Male students do better than their female peers, with boys being offered £184 on average and their female peers trailing £60 behind them, at £124. Boys are also more likely to be incentivised – 66% compared to 58%.

Psychologist Divine Charura from Leeds Met commented on the psychology of incentives: “In terms of a social context, these results show how much pressure is being placed on students by parents. You have to ask yourself what happens if a student doesn’t then deliver on his or her results? What happens if the incentive is no longer given, and at what point does the incentive stop? As a parent, if you give your child money, it can be a good motivator, but on the other hand, does getting these incentives stop us as human beings from doing things for altruistic reasons, such as voluntary work or simply doing things for ourselves?”

However, parents aren’t the only ones offering students incentives for high grades; universities have also been promising help with living costs, discounts on fees, sports club membership and laptops to attract the high flyers!

Are you aware of pupils being offered incentives – and if so do they work? If you’re a parent, have you offered your offspring incentives, and if so, what?

2 thoughts on “Teenagers given cars to reward exam success

  1. It’s all a direct result of Thatcher’s monetarism !

    Under the American hegemony everything and everyone has a price tag ! Its the shackles of slavery !!

  2. What a weird comment! Monetarism is an economic policy and is used to control inflation; I don’t think it has anything to do with parental rewards for exam success. As for “American hegemony”, what on earth is that? I don’t think our parents are influenced by what american parents may do.

    17 is the age when teenagers are eligible to take driving lessons and 18 is the age when they go to university and most need cash; so exam incentives of this nature make some sense. How effective they are is another matter. I am an A level tutor and all my students seem to be sufficiently motivated by the prospect of going to university; I think any financial rewards will have a limited impact.

    Divine Charura talks about pressure; I think encouragement is how I would see it. “What happens if a student doesn’t deliver on his or her results”, she asks. That is quite simple they fail and that is something they will meet in their lives just like success. As for financial incentives stopping individuals from doing things for altruistic reasons that seems to be nonsense. I work for a living and earn money but I do charitable work through the Rotary Club for nothing; in that I think I am no different from most people.

    I think there needs to be a sense of proportion when looking at this issue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>