Sitting for credit

“Seat-time credit” remains common practice in New York City high schools, reports the New York Sun. Students who fail their schoolwork and tests can earn credit for the course if they have good attendance and complete a project assigned by their teacher.

Some teachers are criticizing the policy as veiled social promotion that allows schools to hide failure rates.

“We don’t think you should get credit for just being alive,” the United Federation of Teachers high school representative, Leo Casey, said. “It just seems to be a way for students to accumulate credits without actually doing the work.”

A district administrator says this just an alternative way for students to show their knowledge.

Mr. Weisberg said the policy gives teachers the freedom to work with students struggling to pass conventional assessments if they can show they’ve mastered the knowledge and skills covered in the course by completing, for example, a research project.

If the student has mastered the knowledge and skills, why can’t he do the regular classwork and tests?

It sounds a lot like those kids in Utah who blow off their courses, then get the credit by completing study packets of dubious quality. Of course, the New York kids do have to sit in class not learning in order to pass.

Via NYC Educator.

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  1. wayne martin says:

    And of course, there’s the issue of how much is all of this costing? Don’t forget that only last month the NYC schools were able to “extort” about $2B extra dollars out of the State:
    New York Court Cuts Aid Sought by City Schools

    Published: November 21, 2006

    New York State’s highest court ended a landmark legal fight over education financing yesterday, ruling that at least $1.93 billion more must be spent each year on New York City’s public schools — far less than the $4.7 billion that a lower court called the minimum needed to give city children the chance for a sound basic education.

    New York State now pays about $7.1 billion, or roughly 45 percent, of the city’s total education budget of $15.4 billion, the largest local school budget in the country. The court-ordered increase would come on top of this, but the ruling left open the possibility that the state would press the city to contribute to the added financing.

    And what does this money buy?

    73% of New York State students took the SAT. Only 35% of NYC students did. Despite this, the rest of the state averages 40 to 50 points higher on each section of the SAT.

    > “All kids have to demonstrate standards,” he said.
    > “The rub here is, how does the kid demonstrate it: they go
    > to class, they take the test, they may get the standards in all
    > the time. Other kids may need to demonstrate their
    > knowledge in different ways.”

    And those different ways would be?

  2. Thanks very much for noticing this story, which I still can’t quite fathom. My principal spoke at great length about seat-time in September, and I thought he was simply spouting ridiculous, baseless ideas in order to improve his statistics.

    I was very surprised to see that story in the Sun, and find he was actually talking NYC policy.

  3. How much do the schools get in federal and state fund$ for keeping those butts in those seats?

  4. Can a “student” outsource seat-warming to homeless people? I see a biz opportunity there – the “student” gets to goof off, the homeless guy gets a warm place to sit for an afternoon, and the school district gets its $$$$. Everyone’s a winner!

  5. Why not? Last year a NYC teacher outsourced taking the qualificstion exams to a homeless person, and only got caught because someone got suspicious of the sudden and extreme rise in the score as compared to several previous failures.