Thursday, February 2, 2012

Extra Credit

I have mixed feelings about extra credit. I've noticed that conversations about grade inflation usually don't include mentions of extra credit. I'm concerned that extra credit helps inflate grades. There's also the matter of paying students to do things. Not with money, of course, but with points added to exams or assignments. It's hard for me to prioritize extra credit opportunities. I want students to attend the events that my colleagues organize: film screenings, lectures, panel discussions, plays, etc. I want to help the undergraduate or graduate student who needs to administer surveys. But where does the line get drawn? How do we decide when to say "yes" or "no"? Like a lot of things in life, I decide on a case-by-case basis. But there seem to be unlimited extra credit opportunities for our students. What are your thoughts about extra credit? I would love to hear perspectives and stories from teachers and students. Is extra credit simply a norm? What message is sent to students when they are rewarded extra points for attending events? Do you make a distinction between extra credit for going to events and extra credit for doing additional work, like a paper that isn't required in a course? This post is a short and simple effort to solicit feedback. Thank you.

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