Why is extra credit so motivating for my students? I wonder if there’s any educational psychology literature on this? Readers who are in the know, please let me know. My students, whose class attendance and record of written assignments is mixed overall at best, will do just about anything so long as I call it extra credit! (Is it like getting a “free” appetizer or dessert with your dinner, or a dollar off your coffee after you have your loyalty card stamped ten times?)
Does this happen to any of you faculty and teacher-types out there? Are you, too, amazed by the power of extra credit to get students out for guest lectures and special events on campus? I suppose I’m grateful that something motivates them–but I often want to point out that just showing up and doing their homework is a much more effective strategy for good grades in college. Five or ten extra-credit points in a class with 450 or 500 points total is only 1-2% of the final grade.
Maybe next semester I should just call every assignment on my syllabus “extra credit.” I wonder how long it would take my students to catch on?
Here’s Sonic Youth with an extremely creepy Carpenters song. (That is, it was creepy before Thurston Moore got his creepy hands on it and made it even creepier:)