How Do I Create an Extra Credit Assignment in a Weighted Gradebook?

See this link for general instructions on setting up extra credit.  The rest of this article will focus specifically on extra credit in a weighted gradebook.

Extra credit doesn’t appear to work as expected unless there are graded items in each assignment group, adding up to a total of 100%. Extra credit makes the total add up to more than 100%.

The Issue

The issue that students are having happens when “extra credit” points are being added before each assignment group has a grade in it. If there are empty assignment groups that have a portion of the weight of 100%, then that group is not counting toward the total. That means that the total was less than 100% when the extra credit points were given, which makes it behave as though it’s an actual grade. So if the student gets a bad grade on the extra credit assignment, it is reflecting poorly on their grade. If every assignment group has a graded item in it, and then the extra credit points are given, even if it is a 1/10, it will always raise the grade.

The other issue is that if there are multiple extra credit assignments in the group, and a student gets a 10/10 on the first one, but a 5/10 on the second one, it also shows that extra credit went down. Because with only the first assignment counting towards the extra credit weight, they had a 100% in that group. But getting a 5/10 on the second gives them a total of 15/20, which is a 75% of the extra credit total.

Our Recommendation

Our recommendation is to put all extra credit assignments in a single assignment group, with all the proper point values on the assignments individually, and until every other assignment group that contributes to the 100% of the grade total has a graded item in it, leave the extra credit assignment group worth 0%. Each extra credit assignment should also be auto graded to 0 points.

The student can do the extra credit assignments any time, but won’t see any effect on their grade while the group is worth 0%. Once the other assignment groups all have a graded item in each of them, the instructor can change the weight of the extra credit assignment group, and the students will only see a positive grade change, if any.  This would typically happen at the end of the semester.  

If there are multiple extra credit assignments, you can also create a separate assignment group for each extra credit assignment and make the total percent of that group equal to how much the assignment is worth. (Remember, the percent for each group should be set to 0% until all other assignment groups have a graded item in them.)