Sunday, February 19, 2023

I Love Giving Extra Credit!

Remember when I published this book? 

I don't. But I went back and reread the book and gave it a scathing review on Amazon. Turns out it's actually one of two books I require in Greek 2 (in addition to my beginning grammar), the other being Using New Testament Greek in Ministry. These books, and about 20 other books I've published, will be on full display tomorrow in my Greek class. You see, I give away books to my students. Oh, they are not free. You have to earn them. If you get a perfect score on next week's exam, and if you get all 10 points of the extra credit correct (= translating a simple English sentence into Greek), then you will earn the much-coveted 110 AWARD -- a free copy of one of my books, any book you like! I've been doing this for at least three decades and I love watching students picking out their books. Giving away books is just a little "extrinsic" motivation to help students learn their vocabulary both ways. Of course, to be perfectly honest with you, if I had my druthers, I would do away with written exams completely. Quizzes too. The only criterion for grading would be an individual oral exam with me personally at the end of the semester. I would ask you to read and translate simple Greek prose. You can either do it or you can't. I recall in Basel that we doctoral students had to go through something similar. At the end of a seminar on "Reading Greek and Latin Fathers," Professor Reicke gave me a private oral exam over those two languages. Let me tell you, you couldn't pump sunshine with him. He knew right away whether or not you were ready to proceed to writing your dissertation. 

I'm not saying that quizzes and exams are a waste of time. And I do hope that the ones I give during the semester are fair and accurate assessments of a student's progress. Unlike in Europe, it is an unfortunate fact of life in the American college system that we are bound to written quizzes and exams. This will probably not change any time soon. That being the case, why not at least give extra credit points on each and every quiz and exam you require?