Extra credit takes away meaning from events

Elvin Wong

The con side of ‘Trading Green for Grades’

In MVHS’s overly-competitive academic atmosphere, one thing is for certain. Extra credit is a booming economy.


There’s no doubt about it; the evidence is everywhere. On Nov. 30, a sea of AP US History students swarmed the MVHS library like a horde of Black Friday shoppers, crowding in for a chance at 20 extra points. Furthermore, small slips of paper issued by teachers have also gained significant face value rivaling the dollar itself, such as AP Chemistry teacher Kavita Gupta’s “Gupta Dollar” system which could be “cashed in” at the end of each semester for points.


However, when extra credit becomes the sole incentive for one to go to a school event, there becomes a loss in the whole reason and meaning for the event itself. For this year’s International Night that occurred on April 2, the Interact Officer Team had decided to end the annual extra credit opportunity, and this may very well be the fairest thing done to protect the integrity of International Night.


Furthermore, the Interact Officer Team felt confident that the show was good enough to attract enough viewers without this incentive.


What justifies this move? Although it’s in any event organizer’s best interests to help a struggling student bump up his or her grade, providing this incentive destroys the whole reason an event exists. As for International Night, students are supposed to attend to celebrate diversity, not for a slip of paper that guarantees them a Chance Card for academics.


For example, students in Photography 1 and 2 are awarded extra credit if they visit the annual Blue Coat Community Art Showcase which will occur in May. Now with an added incentive of extra credit, it would seem that these students are going to the Showcase to maximize and extend their art education. However, there are better alternatives to attending an event, such as another extra credit assignment or project.


To say the least, it should be the student’s moral obligation to attend any event unconditionally, regardless of whether extra credit is offered or not. These events don’t come free, and it’s also unfair to underprivileged students who do not have the extra funds to attend these events for extra credit.


It is understandable that in MVHS’s scorching academic climate, extra credit opportunities are always on a high demand. However when these chances are given, they should be more aligned with the class itself, rather than using school and community events as replacement for what could be a extra credit assignment that can teach more to the student. Extra credit may be a valuable resource for students, but pegging its value to school events is simply disrespectful to the planners of any event and the event itself.