THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
John B. King, Jr.
Making Up Course Credit
October 13, 2009
Goals 1 and 2
Issue for Action
Does the Board of Regents wish to implement a policy on making up course credit and direct staff to draft regulatory language based on the policy?
Adoption of Proposed Policy
This item will be before the EMSC Committee for action in October 2009.
Students earn, and school district officials award, units of credit according to the provisions in Part 100 of the Commissioner’s Regulations. Most students earn credit after successfully completing courses of study taught by certified teachers where the instruction is designed to facilitate the attainment of the State’s learning standards. However, alternatives to the traditional way of earning credit can provide some students opportunities for completing diploma requirements. These alternatives include credit by examination, accelerated course completion, and advanced out-of-school study as well as making-up failed or incomplete courses (credit recovery), independent study, and digital learning (online courses).
In April 2009, the EMSC Committee of the Board of Regents reviewed a “Draft Proposed Policy on Making Up Course Credit and Receiving Course Credit for Independent Study.” After review and discussion, the Regents directed staff to seek public input on the draft policy on making up course credit. A field survey was posted on the Department’s Web site in June and concluded in September. A summary and analysis of the survey responses is attached to this item (Attachment A.)
Based on the work to date and input from the field, we recommend that the Regents adopt the proposed policy below.
Making Up Incomplete or Failed Course Credit
There are benefits and risks related to adopting the proposed policy.
School district officials have flexibility in providing programs for students who have had the opportunity to complete a unit of study in a course (i.e. were previously enrolled in a course) but failed to demonstrate mastery of the intended course outcomes. Course credit makeup options include but are not limited to:
In all options, local school officials are responsible for implementing the credit make up program and for insuring quality control in awarding credit. Credit can only be awarded when the record indicates that the work is consistent with New York State commencement learning standards. In courses with related Regents examinations students are expected to take and pass those examinations after completing the relevant course of study.
In order to support the selection and use of quality digital (online) learning materials for purposes of making up course credit, the State Education Department will examine a number of important strategies including the development of an approval process. Funds would be identified and a request for proposal (RFP) issued to create, implement, and evaluate a process by which digital content providers would submit their online courses for approval for use at the local school district level.
After the Regents adopt a policy on Making Up Course Credit, staff will draft regulations for discussion and adoption by the Board of Regents to implement that policy. Upon adoption of the regulations, staff will produce guidelines and facilitate the distribution of examples of programs that enable students to successfully make up credit.
In the future, staff will bring additional items to the Board of Regents related to other alternative ways for earning credit including independent study and digital (online) courses to foster the development of additional policies, regulations and/or requests for proposals in support of higher levels of learning and increased diploma completion.
P-16: EMSC Make up Course Credit Survey Data Analysis
The following is a summary and analysis of the P-16: EMSC Making up Credit Survey data collected during the summer of 2009. The New York State Education Department sought comment on proposed additions to Part 100 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education related to providing credit for making up incomplete or failed course work. Survey collection commenced on June 30, 2009 and was scheduled to conclude on August 15, 2009. However, due to requests from the field, the collection period was extended through September 14, 2009.
For each of the four questions, a majority of respondents answered “Yes”, suggesting that they supported the proposal to clarify or amend Commissioner’s regulations to outline permissible make up opportunities. Most of the respondents (80 %) indicated that the proposed provisions provide significant opportunity for making up incomplete or failed course work. A majority (69 %) said the proposed provisions could be implemented but a majority (62%) also indicated that there are significant challenges for implementation (e.g., resource or financial concerns). Many respondents (71%) agreed that the proposed provisions meet the appropriate unique needs of students.
Of the 532 respondents, the location identification breakout sorted to 36 percent Rural, 17 percent Upstate Suburbs, 17 percent Downstate Suburbs, 12 percent Upstate Small Cities, eight percent New York City, six percent Big Four Cities, three percent Downstate Small Cities, and two percent Blank.
Of the 532 respondents; 33 percent self-identified as Teachers; 25 percent as Principals; 18 percent as Other School Administrators (e.g. Guidance Counselor, Director of Special Education, Director or Student Services); 11 percent as Other (e.g. Assistant Principal, Assistant Superintendent); 9 percent as School Superintendents; one percent as Blank; one percent as taxpayer or parent; one percent as Board of Education Member; and less than one percent as Union Representative.
Respondents were informed that proposed regulations for making up credit may require the following:
Summary of Questions and Reponses:
Question A- “Do the proposed provisions provide sufficient opportunity for students to receive credit for making up incomplete or failed course work? If no please explain.”
Of the 521 respondents (11 responses were N/A), 80 percent selected “Yes” and 19 percent selected “No”. Clearly, a majority of the respondents agreed that the proposed provisions provide sufficient opportunity for students to receive credit for making up incomplete or failed course work. Approximately half of the “No” responses, equating to 10% of the overall responses, expressed concern with the provisions as stated; approximately 4% of the “No” responses listed resource or financial concerns; 3.5% of the “No” respondents opposed the statement in its entirety. Not all respondents included a written explanation.
Question B- “Can the proposed provisions be implemented? If no please explain.”
Of the 518 respondents (14 responses were N/A), 69 percent selected “Yes” and 31 percent selected “No”. A majority of the respondents indicated that the proposed provisions could be implemented. A little more than 1/3 of the “No” respondents had resource or financial concerns. Approximately 1/3 of the “No” respondents had concerns with the provisions as stated; less than one percent opposed the statement in its entirety. Not all respondents included a written explanation.
Question C- “Are there any significant challenges for implementing the proposed provisions? If yes please explain.”
Of the 512 respondents (20 responses were N/A), 62 percent selected “Yes” and 38 percent selected “No”. As noted above, a majority of respondents stated that the proposed provisions could be implemented. However, a majority of respondents indicated through this question that they believe there are significant challenges for implementing the proposed provisions. Over ½ of the “Yes” respondents had resource or financial concerns. Approximately 1/3 of the “Yes” responses stated concerns with the provisions as stated and one percent of respondents opposed the statement in its entirety. Not all respondents included a written explanation.
Question D- “Do the proposed provisions meet the appropriate unique needs of students who did not complete a course or failed to master competencies necessary for success? If no please explain.”
Of the 516 respondents (16 responses were N/A), 71 percent selected “Yes” and 28 percent selected “No”. A strong majority agreed that the proposed provisions meet the appropriate unique needs of students who did not complete a course or failed to master competencies necessary for success. Approximately ¾ of the “No” responses stated concerns with the provisions as stated; about ¼ of the “No” respondents opposed the statement in its entirety; and one percent of the “No” respondents had resource or financial concerns. Not all respondents included a written explanation.
Some respondents chose to print the survey attachment and return their responses to SED. Analysis of the less than 10 handwritten responses showed consistency in answers for each of the four questions listed online. Additionally, follow up explanations for each of the questions were also consistent with the online responses.
Summary of Respondent Comments
Approximately 40% of the respondents submitted written responses concerning the overall survey. A review of the comments fell into overall categories and themes. Approximately ½ of the respondents who provided written comment were supportive of the proposal and approximately ½ of the respondents were critical of the proposal. The following are examples of respondent comments.
Respondents who were supportive of the proposal made the following comments:
Respondents who were critical of the proposal wrote the following comments:
A small portion of the written responses included a recurrent theme about funding concerns:
Several respondents addressed online learning in New York State:
Some respondents expressed concerns as to how this new mandate would affect students with disabilities and other populations:
A few respondents indicated that the student’s teacher who is teaching the course should be allowed to be a participant on the school-based panel.
Based on field comments, the required membership of the school-based panel was reduced and modified from that included in the draft policy considered by the Regents in April 2009.
Percentages may not total to 100 due to rounding.