Letter to the editor: Not everyone should get extra credit

Third-year English student Christina Roffe in "Students should have more extra credit opportunities" advances anxiety as her chief reason in support of more extra credit. In short, Ms. Roffe's piece cripples the importance of individual responsibility.  

Professors provide legitimacy to their grading practices through objective criteria. In turn, they provide every student with the same bite at the apple. Students know what is expected at the outset in the syllabus. The burden is then on the student to evaluate whether they can devote the time necessary to achieve success in the class.

Every student comes to the classroom with unique challenges to this success, and coursework is difficult like it should be. Some students are overworked, anxious, lazy, facing family problems or have other variables that a professor could never fully account for. Therefore, professors do what they can: provide clear rules to the "game" of their class and provide resources to succeed. Not all will succeed, but this is the only reliable method for determining good and bad students. Flattening this disparity in outcome would necessarily take away the value of grading at all.

Ms. Roffe presents a case for the "problem" of anxiety and its effect on grades. While I admire her bravery for admitting this struggle in her personal life, she hastily generalizes it to all who do poorly in class. Doing poorly in class is evidence of not putting the necessary work to receive the desired grade. No amount of extra credit will remedy this. 

Part of the college experience is understanding your limits, your strengths and weaknesses and adapting to changing stimuli. Professors aide this process as a Sherpa to a climber, but it is still up to the individual to walk the mountain. All of our paths are different, and not all will summit, but a professor’s responsibility is only to lead the way. The rest is on you.


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