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Rigorous Exploration

Found in: motivating students

As a proponent of assessment for learning, I do not give extra credit because that gives students and parents the wrong message. To call rigorous additional assignments ‘extra credit’ goes against the grain, as though a student can slack off and then redeem himself or herself through extra credit. Instead, I offer bonus projects in which students can ramp up their skills with further exploration of content work. These bonus projects use the same skills but encourage students to go above and beyond their current skills.

Since I teach photography, a bonus assignment in digital colorization, for instance, might be to take a portrait and give it a vintage, hand tinted look using of duo tones and selective color. The students turn this bonus project in with a grading rubric that addresses the same standards as the current assignment. Rigorous exploration is a much better answer. It asks students to demonstrate their ability to apply targeted skills at a higher level.


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