Every college student has discussed with their professor about how they can bump up their grade after a poor exam grade or that borderline final letter grade. I bet you would not be able to find a college student who would reject ANY opportunity to bump their grade up from that B+ to an A-. But, this is affecting more than just the student. Who has to assign and grade these assignments? The same professor you are begging to give you an opportunity to succeed. By looking at both sides, we should be able to see what is and is not fair and just about giving out extra credit.
A Professor's Perspective:
Let's imagine a student wants to receive some extra credit because they did poorly on their exam but wants to improve in the class. So, the professor assigns a 1 page paper on a topic related to the exam. Now, this professor has to grade an extra assignment, something that was not part of his curriculum and will take up some of his free, non-paid time. But wait, the professor just assigned extra credit for that one student. THAT'S NOT FAIR!
So now, he has to offer it to the rest of the class, and whether that's 10, 20, 30, 100 students, he now is forcing himself to continuously grade assignments he never wanted to be implemented in the first place. How is that fair for the professor? Of course, I am a student and not a professor, but putting my bias aside I can see why some are very stringent about giving out extra credit opportunities.
A Student's Perspective:
If you read my article ("Academics Is A Skillset, Not A Reflection Of Raw Intellect") then you would understand my personal opinion towards today's academic success criteria. To me, I refuse to be judged by my academics. Rather, I want people to judge me by what I have to offer with my experiences and capabilities, not my test scores. With that said, I can 100% admit that I have asked for extra credit plenty of times in my years of schooling. I often find myself doing poorly in a class for the wrong reasons. I paid attention in class, did my homework assignments, and studied for hours and hours. Yet, when it comes to taking that test, my anxiety catches up to me and I panic, forgetting some of the terms I spent hours memorizing. I gave it my all and showed how determined I was to do well, yet I still did not succeed.
So, should my academic career become partially jeopardized due to 1 poor exam? If that was the moral philosophy, then no one in today's society would be given a second chance. We also see people given multiple opportunities to prove themselves. I deserve that same opportunity, and one slip up in a class shouldn't give me everlasting consequences.
What is the best way to judge a student's worthiness of extra credit? You are bound to find students who just don't pay attention, do their work, and study and still push and beg their professors for extra credit. Do I think they deserve extra credit? No. Do I believe they should be given the opportunity to earn it? 100%.
What do I mean by opportunity? It's simple... if a student wants extra credit, they need to earn it. If I'm the professor, I want them to truly show me why it is important to them. No extra worksheets, or retaking the same exam. Instead, write me an essay on your aspirations in life. Tell me why you are in school, and what having good grades can do for your future. Be honest. Be truthful. Are you taking this course because you have to, or because you want to? Is college just about getting a diploma or is it about preparing your future? While this may seem extreme, professors want to see the best version of you, the most truthful and most determined individual that you wish you could be.
So... what do you think? Should professors give students the opportunity for extra credit? Feel free to comment with your opinions!