Extra credit: an academic option


Riley Laurence, Staff Reporter

I like getting good grades.

Very few people on this planet can say (honestly) that they do not feel good about themselves when they get a high grade on a test or a quiz. The feeling of studying really hard for something and knowing that it paid off is one of the greatest feelings you can have as a student in high school.

What I don’t like is when teachers offer extra credit that some students may be unable to do. I’m a fan of getting extra points on assignments, but not when the playing field is uneven.

What I mean by uneven is, for example, when teachers offer up five extra points on a quiz or an extra two points on the test if students bring in a box of tissues or a bottle of hand sanitizer. What if a student has an obligation or a game or something that could prohibit them from having time to leave school at 4:15 p.m., going to a game and getting home at 10:30 p.m. Then, on top of that, having time to do the hours of homework that are assigned to him or her, and then having time to do necessary personal care activities like showering or brushing their teeth, and above all else, having time to go buy their teacher a box of Kleenex for the five extra points? What if a student just doesn’t have time in their day to drive (or be driven) to CVS to buy their teacher a bottle of Germ-X? They shouldn’t get a worse grade than a kid who can buy something for their teacher.

If any extra credit is to be given, it should be strictly academic. The only thing that should be accepted as extra credit is an assignment that every single student is capable of completing and there should be an adequate amount of time to finish the assignment.

For example, one of my teachers from last year used to allow her students to send in their own personal writing to enter short story contests in exchange for a 100 as a daily grade. This is a perfectly acceptable form of work to be accepted as extra credit because:

  1. It is representative of the intelligence of the student, rather than their ability to find a box of tissues in the aisles of Wal-Mart, and
  2. It allows the teacher to measure the growth of their academic abilities and not whether or not they have a working car with a full tank and money to buy tissues or hand sanitizer.

At the end of the day, it’s the teacher’s decision whether or not they give out extra credit, and it is also up to them to decide what that assignment will be. However, a student should not be given a higher grade than another student based on something that does not reflect on their intelligence or their learning.