Hands off the Carnegie Unit

A new report from the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching looks at the Carnegie Unit -- or credit hour -- which it established over a century ago as a rough gauge of student readiness for college-level academics, standardizing student exposure to subject material by ensuring consistent amounts of instructional time. Reformers now argue that reliance on the Carnegie Unit has in fact slowed progress toward diplomas and degrees. Critics say that by stressing amount of time students spend in the classroom rather than mastery of subjects, the Carnegie Unit masks the quality of student learning. By promoting standardized instructional systems based on consistent amounts of student-teacher contact, it discourages more flexible educational designs. The report asserts that the Carnegie Unit was never intended to function as a measure of what students learned. It does, however, play a vital administrative function in education, organizing the work of students and faculty in a vast array of schools and colleges. It provides a common currency that makes possible exchanges and interconnections among institutions, and continues to provide an opportunity-to-learn standard for students in both higher and K-12 education, where inequitable resources and variable quality are the rule rather than the exception. More

Source:  Public Education News Blast

Published by LEAP

Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) is an education support organization that works as a collaborative partner in high-poverty communities.

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