Offering extra extra-credit is too much

Tyra Christopherson, Staff Writer

Some teachers declare that students’ grades should be determined purely from their scores on assignments and tests, with no extra credit points. But this reasoning is flawed. It’s unreasonable for teachers to expect students to do really well on every single assignment. Things come up. Mistakes are made. Students forget to do their homework. There are innumerable explanations for why students don’t have the grades they want, and teachers need to offer extra credit so that their students can make up those missing points – within reason.

I’m not saying that extra credit should be offered with wild abandon. Effortless extra credit, given for easy tasks such as turning in unused bathroom or late passes, should be kept to a bare minimum because although these offers of extra points reward those who stay in class and turn in their homework on time, it involves no extra effort on the students’ parts.

On the other hand, larger amounts of extra credit can be offered with tasks that actually make students work. If students sacrifice their valuable time in order to gain extra points to better their grade, then the extra credit value of the task should reflect that.

While some opportunities to gain extra points should be offered, a cap should still be placed on the overall amount available. A student’s grade should not rise from a C+ to an A- solely through extra credit. If a student truly cares about earning a good grade, he will put forth higher-level work throughout the semester instead of relying on a mad scramble for extra points at the end. Extra credit should only allow students to raise their grades up to the next level. That student with a C+ should be able to raise his grade to a B-, but no higher.

Teachers should recognize the value of offering extra credit as a means to make up for the extenuating circumstances that are part of life. But equally as important, students should recognize that they cannot rely on extra credit for an A in their classes.