The Value of a Sticker


Aileen Resendiz

Last week, I scored a 20/20 on a quiz, but the score wasn’t what caught my attention on my paper. Instead, I was immediately drawn to the sticker that came with it. It was the little fox in the circular sticker that made me realize I don’t really care about the grade I get, I care about whether or not I’ll get a sticker with it.


As people, we tend to need immediate rewards for things that we do. I think stickers on assignments or quizzes that earn A’s are perfect for this, and I say this from firsthand experience. Last year in algebra, my teacher used to give the cutest stickers, and she gave out different types for each test. Sometimes they were puffy animal stickers, sometimes they had glitter, and sometimes they were animals with googly eyes. Getting that sticker was the only thing I cared about; the actual score couldn’t matter less to me. However, I knew that I would only get a sticker if I got an A, so it’s a kind of a trick teachers pull to encourage students to get higher scores.


Not getting that sticker was a tragedy. No sticker meant I didn’t get a high score, and even worse, everybody knows it. You have no fun sticker to compare to your friends’, and honestly, not getting a sticker is lame. It makes you feel like you should have studied harder or actually tried, so that maybe you could have gotten a sticker, too. Stickers are perfect to feel that instant accomplishment, and they’re also perfect to feel that instant disappointment when one isn’t on your page.


So, rewarding students with stickers on high-scoring assignments, quizzes, ot tests may be perfect for raising grade averages. There’s always going to be that kid who genuinely doesn’t care for their grade, but maybe they would care about the sticker. It’s kind of like working out; many people who go to the gym don’t really care about their health. Majority of them just care about the way they look. So, it’s the same concept in that people may not care about the results when it comes to numbers, but they care about the results when it comes to visually appealing rewards.


Humans want instant rewards, and stickers do just that. Personally, I know that if all of my teachers gave me stickers on all of my assignments that earned A’s, my grades would be much higher right now. I would know that if I worked hard enough, I could earn that sticker, and would aim to earn more in the future. Stickers just make students feel more accomplished, and I think that if all teachers implemented them into their grading, students would care much more about their scores, even the ones that never seemed to care.