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Dear Ken,
We have been using your book as a basis for changing our grading and assessment policies in our district. One area we currently discussed was getting rid of extra credit or bonus (understanding how it does, indeed, inflate the grade). Several teachers had been doing something different, however.
1) instead of a "bonus question" on a summative, they would pose a higher-level, challenging question. For students who got the question correct they would receive a different point value for that assessment (52/52) Those who got it wrong would not be penalized but receive a different score (50/50).
2) Another teacher allows students to do additional work- like a challenging math problem or science experiment. This might be worth 5 points. Since it would not be required, it would go in the grade book as 5/5 points and those not completing it would be exempt.

So while not student would have a point value higher than the assigned points (or a percentage higher than 100), they would have different total points.

I would like to know your thoughts on this. Would you still view this as bonus or extra credit? Do you have any suggestions as to how we address this? Thank you.



What you describe is better than the traditional use of bonus questions/points but they still
mean that all students may choose not to do 'extra work' and thus avoid the challenging
questions that enable us to tell which students are excelling and which are only proficient.
The approaches described also maintain the idea that school is about points not learning.
We need to cease doing points based assessment and record performance on all
summative assessments by levels like AP {5 levels} and IB {7 levels}.