Last Updated: January 22, 2019, 5:55 pm

Ethics of extra credit at DSU

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Graphic by Valerie De La O.


Extra credit is a familiar, intricate and often disputable matter on any college campus.

Maybe you have been in a class where the subject was difficult to understand and the professor mentions a chance to earn some extra credit, and that immediately sparks an interest. Professors can create extra credit opportunities that have the ability to promote a meaningful learning environment. However, if they were to offer a boost in a grade in return for a positive evaluation, the academic concept might not remain ethical.

“Extra credit is 100 percent optional,” said Brendon Larsen, a freshman exercise science major from Moapa Valley, Nevada. “So there isn’t anything wrong with an assignment that can’t affect anyone in a negative way.”

Extra credit can motivate a student to achieve a desired level of success, or be entirely unmotivated by it. Plenty of students and professors can benefit from evaluations, but others do not see it as necessary.

“I understand that every single student has different circumstances going through college, and so there might be certain reasons why they need extra credit,” said Spencer Sadler, a junior criminal justice major from Ivins. “If it is offered to the entire class, then I think it’s completely ethical.”

Extra credit can be seen as an easy way out, and assigning it can make more work for the professors. It can give off a certain disadvantage to students who work hard in the class from the beginning.

“I have offered extra credit in the past, but generally I don’t do it as a standard,” said Dave Harris, assistant professor of media studies. “I believe the students who perform well in the class, who are there every day, who work hard on their homework, who get their assignments turned in to the best of their ability. Extra credit doesn’t help them in any way at all. All it does is help those who didn’t work as hard, who didn’t do what they could to be in class every day. And so those students who work really, really hard can be unfairly treated. And that, I think, could be unethical as well.”

According to a Dixie State University Policy concerning faculty rights and responsibilities, DSU is committed to conducting its affairs according to the highest ethical principles, including compliance with all laws, regulations, statutes and policies designed to promote and ensure high ethical standards.

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