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December 28, 2012

Do teachers have to offer extra credit?

NORMAN — Q: I’m pretty sure my son is going to fail his English class this semester. Don’t teachers have to give extra credit to keep this from happening? His isn’t willing to help.

— Jennifer, Norman

Dear Jennifer,

To answer your question, no. Teachers aren’t required to offer extra credit, although most do throughout the semester.

We would first ask these questions of your son:

1. How many times was the class missed? Studies show that grades are directly related to absences.

2. How many zeros are there for missed assignments? Teachers can’t grade anything if it isn’t turned in, and zeros obviously add no points to the overall grade.

3. Did you take advantage of any extra credit opportunities throughout the semester?

4. Why are you waiting until the end of the semester to be concerned about your grade? Work should be turned in to be graded in a timely manner. Assignments have deadlines, and what better way to prepare for the “real world” than to do what is supposed to be done when it’s supposed to be.

None of the above may pertain to your situation. You didn’t say if your son had been struggling with the class all semester. Encourage him to ask questions in class or stay afterward to get some help. Teachers are willing to help students if they just put forth the effort.

It’s truly a rare occurrence that we hear of a student actually failing a class when he or she has been in class, turned in the work and tried. If your son is a high school student, English is required for graduation. There will be opportunities to make up the deficiency, so he can still be on track to graduate. Contact your school counselor to get all of your options.

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