Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On extra credit

It’s at about this time during the semester that I regret having given any extra credit opportunities.


Most of my students are very grade-conscious and will willingly put effort toward an extra credit assignment in hopes of turning their B+ into an A-. Or their A into an A+.

But . . . right about now, it never fails that a few individuals seem to want me to just give them points so they can get the grade they want.

So why didn’t these same students take care of the issue earlier?

Access to PowerSchool gives students the ability to know their grade in any class at any time. It’s not as though students are ignorant of their standing in the course.

So why wait until the last two weeks of the semester to start asking for *more* extra credit opportunities?

An analysis of student grades shows that the daily work/quizzes are the lowest category in most students’ grades. The quizzes are based on the homework, so it seems that there are a couple of possibilities. One, the homework isn’t getting done. Two, the assignment isn’t understood.

If you’re not even attempting the homework, or giving up without seeking help from me, then there’s not much I can do to help you improve your grade.

When you don’t understand the topic, it’s imperative that you take responsibility and ask questions! If you’re not willing to raise your hand and ask, email me (cshepherdadams(at), or IM me at cshepherdadams .

There have been a number of opportunities already this semester for extra credit, mostly for attending FHSU-sponsored science presentations. There was the Chris Mooney presentation (Monday, October 15), a couple of astronomy programs (Thursday, October 4 & Tuesday, November 13), and the Christmas Science show at Sternberg Museum (Saturday, December 7). These options allowed you to get involved in science outside our classroom, to get another perspective of science and how it’s used in real life.

Likewise, each and every unit test you’ve had in this class has included problems or questions that were for “extra credit” – in other words, you weren’t penalized for not getting them right, and you were rewarded for correct responses.

Please note that these opportunities are available to each and every student. It's certainly not fair to ask your teacher to make a special option available just for you.

So, no, I won’t be making up extra worksheets for you to fill out, or puzzles for you to do, or assign book reports or any other such nonsense for “extra credit.”

If you take care of your grade throughout the semester, you’ll find that you don’t need any extra credit at the end.

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