Incentives also affect students in school; many strive to do better when classrooms encourage various kinds of academic contests. They also enjoy individual challenges as provided by some kinds of educational games and opportunities to demonstrate their learning including during lessons and on tests. Many enjoy mastering rote tasks including the memorization of prose, poetry, facts, and trivia. Psychological studies support these observations about incentives and their effects, though the application of incentives requires wise and artful parents, teachers, tutors, coaches, and others.

As students mature, they may realize the longer-term benefits of academic accomplishments. High grades and test scores may help them gain scholarships and admission to the best universities. They may also learn that educational attainment may bring them longer-term economic rewards as they grow into adults. Both short- and long-term incentives may be present in schools today, but they are rarely employed extensively and well…

Short-term monetary rewards are exceedingly rare in American schools. Some stakeholders question the ethics of paying students for academic performance. Yet, research has shown how effective this can be in spurring students to master difficult or boring subjects. Even quasi-monetary awards, such as script-money, merit points, and honor roll status, can help motivate children to gain academic skills and knowledge. Monetary incentives deserve further exploration and use, particularly since they influence much of adult work.