What do you think of my extra credit policy?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by sonflawah, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Nov 15, 2011

    There are two ways to earn extra credit in my class.

    • During the last 5 minutes of class, I play a song from Youtube that has to do with the content we are learning about. The song stays the same for 2-3 weeks until we move to the next chapter. Students can earn between 2-6 extra credit points for memorizing the lyrics and singing them in front of the class the day before the chapter test. More points are earned if fewer students do it. Since I've been doing this, most of my students have committed to memory key information, like the stages of mitosis or cell theory for example. One of their favorite songs is http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=KuJqqiATlqw.
    • Extra credit is unlimited on unit tests. All of my tests are essay tests. I tell the students that the more they write and the better they answer the questions, the more points they will earn. I also give them 5 questions and they are only required to answer 4, but they may answer the 5th one for extra credit. Because of this, some students have scored 140/100 on a test before and have 115% as an overall grade. These students, however, have written extremely well organized answers jam packed with information that reaches well beyond what I expect them to know. Since I give unlimited extra credit on tests, students take testing very seriously and really write everything they know about each topic. It also helps when a student asks if something will be on the test, I answer by saying that the more they know, the more points they will earn. For example, I had a student describe cellular respiration in several paragraphs going way more into depth than is expected in 7th grade... so I gave a lot of extra credit for that answer.

    Do you think these are legitimate ways to earn extra credit? I feel as if the students who have an A+ in my class deserve it for all the effort they put in, and if I didn't offer unlimited extra credit on the essay tests, they wouldn't do near as well.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think they're both pretty clearly tied to you content, so I think they're good forms of extra credit. I also like that the onus is entirely on the students to memorize the material or write a quality essay. I'm curious to see how others respond.
     
  4. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I know I for one like both of them. It sounds like the students are responding to these two things in a positive manner and are doing what they can to go above and beyond. :)
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Honestly, my opinion of extra credit has changed in the recent years and I don't offer it any longer...but that's because our students can improve any score they wish. So if they didn't do well on their map test in social studies they just try it again. This ensures their grade is very representative of the required standards and not fluffed through sometimes random extra credit. It's not evil :), but just unnecessary with our current system.

    Now, specifically... Five minutes taken from class every day to play the same song for two to three weeks seems excessive. That's at least an entire class period over the course of your chapter/unit. With this much time devoted to a song, might you consider making it a requirement of some sort? I just feel that is a lot of class time for extra credit. For the second opportunity, I would personally simply offer the fifth prompt and not factor in "the more you write, the more extra credit you earn" thing. But that's only because it seems easier. ;)
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    That is true. I didn't think about that.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I that when used properly, a music video about the content could be a good anchor song. Besides teaching the content, it helps establish and develop positive classroom climate. The teacher next door to me plays French music videos every single day. It works for him. I can see it working in other classes if done the right way.
     
  8. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    I like the music video because regardless of whether or not the student chooses to memorize the song and sing it in front of the class, it ends up getting stuck in their heads. Usually the chorus is filled with key information, and all the students have it memorized by the end of the chapter... even if they don't try.

    But I guess I never really thought about how much time it takes up during class. hmmmm... definitely something to think about.
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 16, 2011

    Have you considered using the song at the beginning of class, when students are filtering in and while you take roll?
     
  10. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    I haven't thought of that, but they have a few warm-up questions to complete every morning that either refreshes what was learned yesterday or prepares them for that day's lesson. I'm afraid playing the song at the beginning of the period will make them wild and crazy for the rest of the period. Seventh graders are not quiet creatures by nature...
     
  11. Gareth

    Gareth Rookie

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    I think it's great that your incorporating music into the class. If you find it effective for extra credit and the students are engaged then I think it's a good idea.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    As a kid, I would have preferred to fail to singing in front of the class.
     
  13. bondo

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    I like both of these ideas. They are directly tied to what they are learning now, and not after-the-fact assignments that may or may not increase their knowledge base.
     
  14. Jinkies

    Jinkies Rookie

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    Could you let the students just sing in front of you instead of singing in front of the entire class? I would have hated to have to sing in front of the whole class.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The thing about the signing extra credit option is that it's entirely optional. If a student doesn't want to do it, then he can choose not to without penalty. He can choose to do the writing option if he still wants extra credit.

    I think that giving students opportunities to show that they know the material in less than traditional formats is a good thing. We know that we have students who are musically gifted, athletically gifted, etc., but we rarely give them a chance to shine in that format. I think it's nice that our students who love to sing or perform can have an opportunity for that, be recognized by their peers in a positive way, and still demonstrate mastery of the content.
     
  16. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I think playing a song every day that reinforces the unit content is a great idea! It's not like you are playing random music videos.

    My students are 1st graders, but I play a counting video from you tube every day.
     
  17. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    At the elementary level I do not use or think extra credit is necessary. Middle school and high school is a different story though. I agree that as many times as the song is played it might be a little excessive and the amount of writing should not cause more extra credit, but more a focus on quality of writing somehow. The 5th extra question; if they answer it well they can get extra credit. But I also do not like the idea of students gaining more than 100 percent for a class. The extra credit should not be worth so much that it can affect their grade that much.
     
  18. DrivingPigeon

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    I like the song idea, but I would have been absolutely terrified to sing it in front of the class in 7th grade. I learn really well through music, and I could probably write the lyrics by heart. Is this an option, or do they have to sing it in front of the entire class?
     
  19. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Nov 17, 2011

    They never sing alone in front of the class, there's always at least 15 of them that go for it! Those that want to sing alone are welcome to, sometimes they bring their guitars and play along to the song as well.
     
  20. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    I am also struggling with the fact that several of my students have more than 100% as their overall grade. Granted at my school almost all of the students turn in their homework daily and are fairly responsible and held accountable by their parents, but I wonder if greater than 100% is too much.

    The reason why this happens is because of the extra credit on the tests. I don't give extra credit for just writing a lot, only writing quality answers. But the "problem" now is that several students write a lot AND they happen to be quality answers as well and 95% of the students will answer all 5 questions. The extra credit on the test is weighted as test points (30% of the overall grade) while the extra credit for the songs is weighted as participation (10% of the overall grade).

    The only way I can try to justify this is to think that the quality of the answers they are giving in the test is above and beyond what the 7th grade standards call for, so wouldn't that deserve an A+? Also, if a student can write correctly and in detail about a topic, isn't that representative that they will most likely ace a multiple choice test about the same topic? I am still torn about this though. Too late to change things for this year, but perhaps next year I will weight any extra credit given on tests as "participation" points.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    While I appreciate that you have tied your extra credit to curriculum, I'm not sure how someone can demonstrate more than 100% mastery of a subject?
     
  22. Joxepa

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    if they demonstrate mastery above and beyond their grade level as suggested previously, is that not greater than 100% mastery as required by the curriculum?
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't think so, but I could be looking at this wrong.

    If you master the content, you "got it". I don't know if you can "really, really get it". Maybe it's kind of like being pregnant: you either are or you are not...you're not a little pregnant or completely pregnant. If students learned beyond the required content, then they learned additional content, which is not the same as mastering the standards in excess of 100%.
     
  24. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    That's how I think of it as well, JustMe. I'm also wondering if grades in excess of 100% show up on report cards?
     
  25. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    To me extra credit is mostly for students who fell behind in their grades or are trying to pick their grade up due to something did poorly on. If they want to go the extra mile to do this other thing that demonstrates learning to make up for, I can understand that. A student who does not have this problem, does not need to have extra credit. To me, if a student has 100% in a subject, then the material is not difficult enough and maybe the assessment methods need to be changed.
     
  26. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Grades above 100% just show up as an "A" on the report card. It's just when the parents check the grades online that they show up as 105% or something like that, but it still says A not A+.
     
  27. 2ndTimeAround

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    not sure about the singing part. I don't really get how that shows learning above and beyond.

    But then, I don't *believe* in extra credit. If a student did what he was supposed to the first time around, he wouldn't need extra credit. Extra credit means extra work for the teacher.

    Although I do like how you let students choose 4 of the 5 prompts to answer and then use the fifth as extra - that seems like a reasonable way to build up more points. I don't know about the amount you are giving, though. It seems like too much to me.

    I understand that students are people and everyone has a bad day once in a while. Which could result in a low test score. I give students an opportunity to re-take one test at the end of the nine weeks to combat that issue. Then I am working more toward mastery instead of extra points tacked on.

    But... my students won't do any work outside of class when I assign it. So when they come to me asking for something EXTRA to do, it is insulting. Can't do EXTRA if you didn't do the basics first.
     
  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I see. Our grades (above grade 6) are in percentages--where over 100% definitely wouldn't "fly".
     

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