Foundations of Education and Instructional Assessment/Grading/Extra Credit

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Should Teachers Allow
Extra Credit
Lindsey Layne
"I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.-Socrates

Learning Targets[edit | edit source]

-The reader should be able to understand reasons why teachers allow extra credit -The reader should be able to understand different types of extra credit

Introduction[edit | edit source]

In today’s schools teachers are skeptic about whether or not to provide extra credit opportunities to their students. It is at the teachers discretion to implement this practice in their classroom. Some teachers oppose giving their students the chance to increase their grade with this option while others believe it is necessary.

What is extra Credit and how is it used?[edit | edit source]

Extra credit is an optional assignment of some sort that a student can do to boost his/her grade. Teachers can present an extra credit assignment in many ways. It could be a presentation, a paper, a book report, a visual aid and so much more. It serves more than one purpose when also used as a review for a test or lesson. Sometimes the points earned will only be added to a test or other assignment and other times teachers choose to put it towards a final grade. Usually these assignments are worth no more than 20 points, except for in rare cases. An example of an extra credit assignment could be related to a test. The teacher may not take up homework for an entire lesson on Rational equations. Completing the homework will be at the students discretion and on the day of test they can turn it in for 5 extra credit points on the test.

Optimistic view of Extra Credit[edit | edit source]

Teachers choose the route of extra credit assignments for many different reasons. Everyone has unpredictable things happen within their lives and sometimes it can impact sleep, time to study, or even being able to attend school. Extra credit can ease this stress and fill the gap.Usually teachers who believe this option is a positive thing, do it because they believe it allows for less stress on the students. If a student was just having a bad day and did not get the grade they hoped for on a test, they know that they can complete the extra credit assignment to boost their grade a little. Another reason may be for the simple experience of what the assignment entails. For example, if the option is to create a video or a power point presentation on the civil war, it would give the students some personal interaction with the subject matter. This knowledge could be beneficial when completing other assignments that involve the civil war. Lastly, a teacher may implement extra credit opportunity to benefit themselves. Some teachers believe that the grades the students receive is a direct reflection of how the teacher is doing their job. If most of a class bombs a test, the extra credit will hopefully relieve some of the worries that their teacher may have.

Pessimistic view of extra credit[edit | edit source]

On the opposing side of the extra credit issue, teachers can view this educational option as a negative thing. “Some teachers have a policy of no extra credit work. They feel that every student has the opportunity to do what's necessary and if they don't, they should experience the consequences.” (The English Teacher) They may think it gives the students an excuse not to do their best on a test or assignment. "The existence, or the hope of extra credit may induce students to prepare less carefully for exams and papers with the expectation that additional points can be earned on future assignments," (Wilson 2002.) If not all of the students choose to take advantage of the extra credit, the grade outcome can contain too much of a gap. The grading of additional assignments that only few students completed can also get very confusing and cause issues for the teacher. The “no extra credit” route can teach students the responsibility of planning for their test without hesitation. (The English Teacher.)

Closing the gap[edit | edit source]

When a teacher feels skeptic not to allow extra credit but still wanting their students to do well, they may try to result to something different to make it seem fair. Teachers may not like to allow extra credit to boost any grades but they could have a rule where if more than 70 percent of a class fails or receives below a 65 on an test, the teacher will implement a curve. This could be only for tests so that way students will not count on extra credit points and still do their best. The curve could be added in any way to try to make the class average within the passing zone.

Review Questions[edit | edit source]

1. What is the term for an optional assignment that can boost a student’s grade?
a. Curve
b. Extra credit
c. Homework
d. Test
2. If a teacher wants to implement a different route other than extra credit to boost their students grades on a test, that has stipulations and the students would be unaware until after they took the test, what would the teacher do?
a. Allow a presentation to earn 5 points
b. Throw out the test and put a 100 in grade book
c. Implement a curve to put class average above passing
d. Allow for a retake to only few students
3. According to the article which example best describes a situation that could cause a student stress
a. Parents divorce
b. at the hospital all night
c. not enough sleep
d. all of the above
4. According to article which option best describes a reason for a teacher opposing extra credit?
a. teacher doesnt feel like grading extra assignments
b. students should learn that planning ahead and studying is very important without hope of extra credit
c. the test was easy enough without offering extra credit
d. all of the above

Answers 1.b 2.c 3.d 4.b

References[edit | edit source]

-(Danielson, L The English Teacher. Retrieved March 19, 2009, from Teaching Strategies Web site:
-Wilson, Mark (2002). Evidence that Extra Credit Assignments Induce Moral Hazard, Atlantic Economic Journal, Retrieved March 19, 2009, from