The Ridiculousness of Seat Time Requirements | Devin Vodicka | 4 Min Read

This post was written during the height of the pandemic. The lessons still apply today.

In Learner-Centered Leadership I wrote:

“Even more bewildering is the way that we allocate time to these courses.  Just about every high school in the US awards five credits for a ninety-hour course, and I have found very few educators who understand how we came to organize ourselves into this model … We award ‘credit’ based on seat time and further associate funding streams with this seat time … It is time for a change.”

page 118 

I should note that this excerpt was written before COVID-19.  

Now that we are approaching fall where many schools will be compelled to start the year with a distance learning model, the ridiculousness of these archaic seat time requirements is even more pronounced.  

Here are two compelling reasons for us to eliminate seat-time.

Seat-time is Antiquated

The origins of the seat-time requirements date back to the beginning of the industrial era when our system was shifting from a very decentralized, “one room schoolhouse” model to a factory-model that emphasizes standardization and efficiency.  More specifically, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released an influential report…

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Devin Vodicka

Devin Vodicka is the CEO of Learner-Centered Collaborative and the author of Learner-Centered Leadership. He is also three-time California superintendent of the year (2016 AASA, 2015 ACSA, 2015 Pepperdine), Innovative Superintendent of the Year (2014 Classroom of the Future Foundation), and nine-time White House invitee, both in recognition for district-wide achievement, and to advise and partner with the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Educational Technology and Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools.