Extra credit is a way for students to buy their grades
By Maddie Darling
It is hard to keep up on a heavy class workload. Studying for other classes or working a job can be prioritized over other classes and grades can suffer. Luckily for students, extra credit is often offered in some courses and can become like a saving grace. Unfortunately, this is a way of scamming one’s education. There is no learning in extra credit; extra credit should only be offered if it involves some relevance and a lesson pertaining to the classroom.
Everyone has brought in a box of tissue or some sort of donation to the classroom back in elementary school. But when middle schoolers or high schoolers are earning ten points of extra credit in chemistry for bringing in a tissue box, what are students getting out of that? They only learn that grades can be bought rather than earned. It gives loopholes to passing classes without basing the entire grade off of classwork and learning the topics. Activegrade.com states that “Finding ways for students who have not learned the expected material to earn extra points means that a passing grade doesn’t mean anything.” It brings up the question is a grade based off of simply passing or actually learning? According to facultyfocus.com extra credit can lower the standard of learning. It is also unfair for the students who are actively keeping up with classwork and earning their grade, although they will also have the extra credit opportunity, they still put in the work where others were lacking.
Extra credit can be used as a bribe in a way. In fundraising events, extra credit is often offered in exchange for donations. Donating canned goods or old clothing to earn extra credit has no relevance to a classroom setting. Students can buy their grade this way and will simply rely on the extra credit rather than put in the work to earn a passing grade. Furthermore, donating with just the extra credit as a motivator takes away the sense of just doing selfless, acts of kindness because it is only done to the student’s advantage. The idea of helping someone in need is lost in the inappropriate way of earning an A.
Extra credit should only be offered in relevant ways that involve learning. If there is a lecture involving a class topic that not all students are able to attend outside of the classroom, this should be extra credit so the students who missed will not be penalized. Another appropriate time for extra credit should be if a student earns a passing grade on an assignment, but completed an optional part of it to earn some extra credit points. Extra credit should not be made available to students failing a class because there are multiple other ways to work on raising a grade rather than relying on extra credit.
Because extra credit takes away the desire to learn just for the sake of learning, and becomes a backup way to pass a class, it should not be offered. There should be a limited number of reasons to offer extra credit, and these reasons must follow strict guidelines and have a relevance to the class. Otherwise, students will take advantage of the opportunity to coast by rather than putting in the hard work.