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If a midterm exam was from 100 points with 5 points bonus(extra points). Then should the total grade be out of 100 or 105? How to deal with cases of students getting above 100? Should their points be used as bonus for the next exams or just throw them out since they don't need them? I feel that since some students would benefit of the 5 points, those who were above 100 should also do, but I am not sure how?

closed as primarily opinion-based by EnergyNumbers, Enthusiastic Engineer, Kimball, RoboKaren, Davidmh Oct 7 '15 at 19:09

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Can you clarify what you mean by "final grade"? Is the final grade you are referring to really the exact measure of achieved / available points? In that case, achieved / 105 points seems to me like the 5 points are not bonus points at all. If it is not the exact quotient, but the quotient is mapped to some discrete scale of grades, there will always be a few points above the last grade that have no effect, and having 105 points, but getting the same grade as with 100 (or maybe even 95 or 90) points doesn't seem unfair. As for using the points for the next exam, this may or may not be ... – O. R. Mapper Oct 7 '15 at 14:06
  • ... allowed by your university, or in general by your jurisdiction. You will have to find out about the rules concerning this and clarify your question (or answer that part for yourself). – O. R. Mapper Oct 7 '15 at 14:07
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    To address your issue of fairness, one way of thinking about it could be that there is a "maximum" score of 100, but multiple ways of achieving it. A student that struggles on deriving equations has a "bonus" chance to make up the points by describing applications of it (and/or vice versa). Of course, if the student is good at both, you could argue they're doing extra work for nothing - or you could argue they're doubly sure of getting full marks – Landric Oct 7 '15 at 14:30
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    I'm really not sure why this question was closed: it seems pretty straight-forward to me. – jakebeal Oct 7 '15 at 19:11
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    What is your goal in having the bonus points? Is it so that a student can still get the maximum score even if they get a question wrong? – Superbest Oct 7 '15 at 20:31
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When I have dealt with extra credit in the past, it was simply retained in the records until the very final accounting of scores at the end of the course. Thus, if the exam was out of 100 points, it was still considered to be out of 100 points, and some people simply had more than the maximum possible.

When grades were combined together in the final accounting at the end of the course, having a score above the maximum effectively ended up helping compensate for lower scores on other tests (though perhaps not one-to-one, depending on relative weighting). If a particularly amazing student turned out to get more than the maximum in the class overall, then it wouldn't affect anybody at all: the curve wasn't shifted and they simply got top marks, as they would have if they'd gotten the maximum.

  • So if a student scores 105, would you mention 105/100 or just 105 on their exam paper? – Thomas Lee Oct 7 '15 at 19:53
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    @ThomasLee Probably 105/100. I might not bother with the denominator if it's spelled out clearly on the exam already, though. – jakebeal Oct 7 '15 at 20:07
  • I would write "96/100 + 9 extra credit", or just "96 + 9" if the denominator is already clear. – JeffE Oct 8 '15 at 2:34
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    @JeffE: Wouldn't that require that it is clear which points are the bonus points? – O. R. Mapper Oct 8 '15 at 8:39
  • @O.R.Mapper Sure, I guess. OP wrote "from 100 points with 5 points bonus". I assume that means the 5-point bonus questions were clearly marked as such, since otherwise he would have written "from 105 points". On the other hand, I sometimes give individual exam problems grades like 9+2 to indicate 9/10 points of regular credit plus 2 points of extra credit. – JeffE Oct 8 '15 at 21:26

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