Extra credit can be used to better students — not just their grades.
From my experience, and what I have heard from different students, extra credit given around Dixie State University takes on a more active form. I have attended a couple of events this year where I’ll ask fellow students why they wanted to come; a lot of the time the reply is extra credit. Another example of extra credit I have encountered here at Dixie is teachers giving extra points for students who go to the writing center.
While I believe students should pursue activities that fulfill their own personal interest, giving extra credit for going to events and the writing center is a smart idea. Students can be unaware of the resources they have on campus. Encouraging students to use the writing center could encourage students to continue using the writing center in the future.
The events attended by some for extra credit have been mainly awareness events. The point of an awareness event is to … raise awareness. I doubt half the students I saw at these events would’ve attended out of sheer interest. But because they were given an incentive, they came to an event they usually wouldn’t go to and became informed on subjects not previously known to them in depth or at all.
Extra credit can have a stigma to it. Why should there be extra credit? Students should only get the grade they earn based on course work. Extra credit gives the slackers a chance to get the same grades as students who’ve earned their grade.
When extra credit is given in a careless way, I can see why some might disapprove it. An image of kindergarten comes to mind when teachers would give extra credit for bringing school supplies. One of my old roommates told me about how in high school she would bring her teachers coffee in order to pass. Trivial things that don’t align with school objectives shouldn’t be included in the extra credit realm.
Skeptics of extra credit might embrace it better if extra credit didn’t provide a drastic change in the grade. For one of my classes I had a teacher who would give five extra questions for five points on the tests. For the people who did study and put their time into the test it could mean the difference between an A and a B. For the students who didn’t study it could also be the difference between two lower grades.
With that strategy of extra credit students aren’t encouraged to slack off and make it up later with extra credit. In fact, they might study even more because of the possibility of getting more points.
Extra credit is an advantage for all students, and like most advantages students can have, most don’t take it. Even if students were offered a number of points for attending an awareness event, a lot of them would probably not show up. Same with assignments or extra questions on the test. Just because students know there will be extra credit on the test doesn’t mean they’ll study for it.
Even if it’s given the title “extra credit” it’s like any other official assignment. Some will take the time to do it and some won’t. Whether some want to take the advantage of extra credit or not, it’s up to them.