Let me begin by saying, yes, I understand extra credit is a thing, and I don’t judge those who give it. I’ve even, on occasion, given extra credit to students in order to encourage them to support a particular program (example: extra credit for going to the school play). However, extra credit points are rare in my classroom, and they’re certainly not something students should count on to help their grade.
So why do I rarely give students extra credit opportunities? The point of my class is to help students master skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Their scores in my class demonstrate how well they’ve mastered those skills, and extra credit points give a false sense of mastery.
You might ask: But what if students don’t do as well on an assessment and master skills later? Should we really punish them for mastering a skill after the assessment was due? No, of course not. And I would argue that extra credit can help students get by without ever working towards mastery. So what do I do instead? I allow students unlimited* revisions. (*There are actually some constraints/limits to this.)
What are unlimited* revisions? Students are allowed to revise any writing assignment; however, they must demonstrate significant revisions in order for me to grade it. If it’s only grammar or spelling that is changed, I won’t regrade it. If, however, students revise content (thesis, evidence, interpretation, etc.), then I will regrade it and count the new grade. In order to more easily check the kinds of revisions a student is making, I have students highlights their revisions (and I usually have them do it on the same Google Doc so I can also check the revision history). Additionally, I don’t average the first grade and the new grade; students simply get the new grade, so it’s entirely possible (albeit difficult and rare) for a student to go from a D- to an A.
Why should you do this? It allows students to learn and improve based on their own needs. Additionally, it demonstrates to students that your emphasis is on their learning and the process of writing, not on the final product or grade. And the more we can emphasize the importance of learning as a process rather than a final product or a grade, the better.
A word of caution: it means more work. You will have more grading to do, a lot more grading. I’m currently in a place in my life (no kids, no other jobs) where extra grading doesn’t kill me. But I’m a firm believer in doing things in a way that is realistic for where you are in your life and job; if doing this in as extreme of a way as me seems unreasonable to you, try to do something similar that works better for you (maybe 1 or 2 major revisions a quarter).