13 April 2006

To Credit or Not to Credit

I talked with principals this afternoon about our summer "intervention." The question came up as to whether or not "retro-credit" students who pass the WASL in August...assuming that they didn't pass their school year classes.

The idea is that this might be a kind of carrot to motivate at-risk kids. They need both passing scores on the state test and a particular number of credits in order to graduate.

Personally, I think this is a bad idea. First of all, the state test only has a slice of the full amount of information covered in a year-long course. Also, what happens with kids who passed their math class (for example) during the school year, but not the state test. After they pass the test, do they get additional credit? What kind? Content area or elective? If you give elective credit, then you're taking away potential teaching positions from other areas, because the kid won't need to take another class. Meanwhile, the whole thing feels like "double dipping": the kid gets twice the credit others get for the same amount of work.

I do understand that the students who attend this summer are putting in an additional 16 days of seat time (roughly 10% of a school year). But shouldn't the ability to obtain a diploma be reward enough?

This topic is sure to come up again at other sessions with principals. I can hardly wait to hear what teachers do with this idea.


Mr. McNamar said...

This new topic is certainly worth exploring. We are contemplating the same idea for English classes. If a class is geared towards the state standards, the WASL, and they pass the WASL, I believe they should get credit for the class, but their G.P.A. remains the same. By passing the WASL, they've demonstrated the core skills we want them to have.

The Science Goddess said...

I like the idea of giving some credit, but not impacting the GPA.

Our math guru said today that perhaps some credit might not be out of line---but certainly no more than a semester.