Grappling with the ‘Extra-Credit Question’

The end of the semester brings many questions from students, including, “Is there any extra credit I can do to help my final grade?” write Dana S. Dunn, professor and chair of psychology at Moravian College, and Jane S. Halonen, professor of psychology and former dean of arts and sciences at the University of West Florida, in a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In the story, Dunn and Halonen offer eight strategies for effectively incorporating extra credit into one’s course. The strategies include making sure extra credit assignments are in line with course objectives; setting a maximum percentage of extra credit points that can be earned; specifying extra credit during the first class meeting and the syllabus; verifying completion of extra credit activities or projects; double checking final grades to make sure extra credit points are incorporated; rejecting last-minute appeals; giving all students a sense of where they stand grade-wise throughout the semester; and saying “no” to extra credit if it doesn’t fit well with your course objectives.