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Should extra credit be offered?

As a student myself, I both like and dislike the idea of extra credit.
At some point, it will help my grade when I need. But another time, difficult extra credit assignment discourage me performs in class.
For example, as finals are closing in, lot of students like me build up the anxiety right before the exam, trying to study as much as possible to get a good grade. If the professor offers extra credit and I did do it. I can still get good grade despite poor performance on the exam, therefore less pressure into the week of final. I do believe the end goal of education is gaining the knowledge, not punish for what you don't know.
On the other hand of the spectrum, extra credit are not always fair as professor claim to be. Not every student can attend a guest lecture on a Friday night, there always be a conflict. And what make me furious are those extra credits that have no relation to the course material. The cases maybe few, but the whole idea of second chance also can discourage one from try harder. Be honest, I hardly do my last homework if I guarantee an 90 from previous grade + extra credit bonus.

Thinking ahead, does the real world have extra credit? a second chance if you mess up?

I think the question really come down to what kind of education experience we are dealing right now and what should be for next generation.

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    Apr 28 2013: It's simply another tool to be used by a broken system. One only needs extra credit if the grade is all that matters. If actually learning the material was more important than our GPA's then no one would care about how much the midterm was worth, or if they could get an extra 2% credit on the final for going to a discussion or talk on campus about the class topic. If you come to end of the semester and you have a D, the vast majority of people simply want to make that letter change. They have little interest in filling the gaps in their knowledge so they can use that information later.
    • Apr 29 2013: When you say broken system, I assume you mean the letter grade. for the sake of argument, without grading(GPA), what push the student to absorb the knowledges? In my 3 years of college, half of my classes consist of major related courses and half of them are gen ed courses. There is no guarantee that all my classes are interest to me that without any grading in the class. Furthermore, grade not always reflect one's learning result, but it did indicate where they are in terms of course material.
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        Apr 29 2013: I mean the higher education system in the U.S. as a whole. It has become a branch of the service industry, where customers (students) pay for a product (education) that is produced by employees of a company (faculty at the university). It is a passive experience for the most part, where the majority of students go to class and are told what and how to think by someone whom society has deemed an "expert" on a certain subject for one reason or another. You go to class, the professor spoon feeds you information, you memorize it and regurgitate it on the exam. After doing this for four-ish years and paying $80,000, you receive a piece of paper that states that you have a certain level of knowledge in a certain area. You then are told to get a job so you can pay back those loans and/or contribute to society.
        Our system is about producing something off which we can make a profit, not learning simply for the sake of learning. Unfortunately, it still tries to function like a learning institution by requiring students to have elementary knowledge in a broad range of subjects (gen eds). This is inefficient. If you go to school to learn a trade (engineering, medicine, forensics...etc) then your course work should focus exclusively on that. If you are going to school to get an education (i.e. to broaden your mind and have a greater understanding of the world) then getting a degree with which you can obtain a job shouldn't be expected/needed (and cost should reflect that). If you are there to learn, grades don't matter. if you are there to get a job which requires mastery of the material, then they do.

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