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PSYC FPX 4600 Assessment 4 Research Report


Capella University

PSYC FPX 4600 Research Methods in Psychology

Prof. Name


Literature Review


Goal setting is an inherent human behavior, present across all ages. Both adult and child students often set academic goals and are willing to undertake additional tasks to achieve them. This review examines the relationship between extra credit assignments and students’ final grades. The null hypothesis posits that students who complete extra credit projects will have higher final percentages than those who do not. Conversely, the alternative hypothesis suggests that students who complete extra credit projects will not have higher final percentages than those who do not. This study aims to determine if extra credit assignments positively impact final grades by analyzing existing research and theories.

Locke and Latham’s Goal Setting Theory

Goal Setting Theory, introduced by Locke and Latham (1991), emphasizes that the specificity and difficulty level of a goal are crucial to its success. This theory is pertinent to this research as it highlights the motivation that drives actions. In this context, students set goals to achieve a specific final grade and undertake extra credit projects to enhance their chances of success. Myers and Hatchel (2019) found that students generally have positive attitudes towards extra credit opportunities, even if they do not participate. A study by Prior (2018) published in Educational Action Research showed that extra credit activities, like pop quizzes, help students become more familiar with the material, thus increasing test scores and final grades. This concept is predictive of students’ behavior as it illustrates their goal-setting processes and their willingness to pursue these goals.

Values and Limitations

Research indicates that there is no clear and direct correlation between final grades and extra credit activities. However, extra credit is seen as beneficial by educators as it enhances participation, classroom engagement, and students’ perception of the course. According to Izienicki and Setchfield (2019), instructors at large institutions are more likely to offer extra credit as it helps manage students’ perceptions of the course and the instructor. Despite this, many students express positive attitudes towards extra credit but seldom participate in it. Foster (2021) reported that while over 80% of students expressed willingness to do extra credit at the beginning of the class, only 24% actually completed any extra credit work when offered, even if it could have provided the points needed to pass. Additionally, high-achieving students might engage in extra credit more frequently to meet perceived higher expectations (Endleman et al., 2022). Conversely, low-performing students often avoid extra credit assignments to prevent additional stress (Stark et al., 2020).

Research Proposal

Educators and researchers generally believe that extra credit can aid in improving final grades for students. The initial hypothesis for this study posited that students participating in extra credit projects would have final grades of C (average) or higher. However, numerical analysis must be used to validate this hypothesis. The independent variable is extra credit participation, while the dependent variable is the final percentage.



Purposive Sampling was employed, as the sample was predetermined. The sample was drawn from a total population of 105 students, focusing on the 22 students who completed the extra credit project.


Regression Analysis was utilized to measure whether the final grades of students who participated in extra credit projects were C or higher. This analysis examines the relationship between the independent variable (extra credit) and the dependent variable (final grade).


A Linear Regression model was used to determine if the final percentages of students who completed extra credit projects were 70% (C) or higher. This method shows the relationship between independent and dependent variables (Montgomery et al., 2021). Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and reported their extra credit completion and final grades. The output’s model summary indicated an adjusted R² of .066, meaning the regression explained 6.6% of the variance in the data. The F-test indicated a significant linear relationship between the variables.

The lowest final percentage for students who completed extra credit was 74% (C), whereas the lowest for those who did not was 43% (F). The highest percentage for both groups was 98% (A).


The results support the null hypothesis, indicating that students who participated in extra credit assignments achieved final percentages of 74% (C) or higher. This aligns with the Goal Setting Theory, as students undertook extra credit to reach their highest possible grades. Despite the study’s limitations, such as variance in student demographics and external factors, the findings suggest that extra credit can positively impact final grades. Educators might consider offering extra credit more frequently to support student achievement.


Endleman, S., Brittain, H., & Vaillancourt, T. (2022). The longitudinal associations between perfectionism and academic achievement across adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 46(2), 91-100.

PSYC FPX 4600 Assessment 4 Research Report

Foster, K. T. (2021). Engagement in an online library class: Using extra credit activities to encourage student interaction. Reference Services Review, 49(2), 151-162.

Izienicki, H., & Setchfield, S. (2019). Extra credit in the sociology classroom. Teaching Sociology, 47(1), 32-42.

Locke, E., & Latham, G. (1991). A theory of goal setting & task performance. The Academy of Management Review, 16, 10.2307/258875.

Montgomery, D. C., Peck, E. A., & Vining, G. G. (2021). Introduction to linear regression analysis. John Wiley & Sons.

Myers, C. A., & Hatchel, J. (2019). Personality and cognitive factors related to completing extra credit assignments. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 13(2).

Prior, J. (2018). Integrating extra credit exercises into a university English-language course: How action research provided a framework to identify a practical problem. Educational Action Research, 26(5), 770-786.

Schäfer, T., & Schwarz, M. A. (2019). The meaningfulness of effect sizes in psychological research: Differences between sub-disciplines and the impact of potential biases. Frontiers in Psychology, 10.

Stark, G., Boyer-Davis, S., & Knott, M. J. (2020). Extra credit and perceived student academic stress. Journal of Business and Educational Leadership, 10(1), 88-108.

PSYC FPX 4600 Assessment 4 Research Report

Tenny, S., & Abdelgawad, I. (2022). Statistical significance. StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.

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