Teaching Computer Science: Extra Credit


I wish I got a dollar for every time a student asks, “Can I get extra credit for [insert action for which it makes no sense to give extra credit]?”

Today in class we did a difficult programming exercise. It wasn’t graded but I asked everyone to turn it in so I could evaluate the difficulty of the assignment.

“Can we get extra credit for turning it in?” a student asked me.

“How does it make sense to give extra credit for turning it in? Everyone is turning it in.”

“It raises everyone’s grades,” he said. “Like a rising tide lifts all boats.”

  3 comments for “Teaching Computer Science: Extra Credit

  1. Avatar
    16 Apr 2015 at 5:02 am

    In keeping with the nautical theme, get a handheld air horn, paint it international orange, label it “GRADE INFLATION ALERT,” explain its purpose, and keep it handy.

  2. PE
    16 Apr 2015 at 9:52 am

    I like the air horn idea … I’ll get back to you for further advice the first time I blast a kid with it and his parents file a lawsuit.

  3. Avatar
    16 Apr 2015 at 9:56 am

    Just a simple explanation, perhaps accompanied by a demonstration, at the beginning of each semester might be enough. Word of these things usually spreads quickly among students.

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