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Students given $500 reason to ace HSC exams

Anastasia Santoreneos
·2-min read
Portrait of happy teenage girl showing test result with A+ grade on university campus.
Students given a $500 reason to ace their HSC exams. Source: Getty

Students at a western Sydney high school have been given the ultimate incentive to perform well in their HSC exams: $500 cash.

Auburn’s Al-Faisal College gave hundreds of high achievers a cheque for $500 for every subject they scored higher than 90 per cent in last year, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The policy has cost the school more than $100,000, but has seen massive results: the Islamic school has jumped from 54th to 23rd in the HSC league tables.

“This year there were 212 distinguished achievers and as a result each student was presented with a cheque of $500 for every subject where they scored an ATAR of 90 or above,” Al-Faisal College stated on its website in 2018.

Managing director Shafiq Abdullah Khan told the publication the incentive program was supported by parents and the school community.

“The aim is to show students the importance of diligence and hard work in achieving goals in life,” he said.

One student received more than $3,000 in rewards from the school last year, and is now studying medicine at the University of Sydney.

Does money really motivate?

When it comes to work, money doesn’t actually make employees any more satisfied with their jobs, a Harvard Business Review meta-analysis found.

“Employees earning salaries in the top half of our data range reported similar levels of job satisfaction to those employees earning salaries in the bottom-half of our data range,” Gallup engagement research found.

Instead, intrinsic motivation was found to be a strong predictor of job performance.

“The fact that there is little evidence to show that money motivates us, and a great deal of evidence to suggest that it actually demotivates us, supports the idea that there may be hidden costs associated with rewards,” associate at Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, said.

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