Extra-Credit Conundrum

“Consider offering extra credit for students who attend,” suggests e-mail after e-mail from various entities on campus. Senders are touting art exhibitions, philosophy debates, librarian outreach in the community, guest speakers, forums, and who knows what else.

These are great activities that would enrich my students if they attended. I hope they will do things outside of class to be part of the larger community. However, this message of extra credit is in direct opposition to the syllabus and standards that I have been told I must teach from.

For developmental English courses, how students are graded is spelled out very strictly at my college. I am only supposed to give credit for tests and writing assignments, with those category weights being dictated by the department. I dislike being managed so much but accept it as part of the job—particularly as an adjunct faculty member.

Those who sponsor events on campus are speaking to all disciplines, so I’m sure they don’t know the minutia of my particular grading confines. The message, not only of extra credit, but of being told to give it, strikes me as incongruous. It doesn’t sit right with me, and I’m wondering if I’m alone here.

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