Schools need to modernize and give up useless credit system


Otto Tielemans

Schools need to stop using the "credit system" required for students to graduate. Credit: Michael Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press
Schools need to stop using the “credit system” required for students to graduate. Credit: Michael Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press

Regardless of what class I’m in, from time to time a simple question will pop into my head: what am I doing here?

When I ask the question, I don’t say it because I am suffering from dementia or some other of memory loss, but rather because I am wondering why I have not yet graduated. 

Not to sound pompous, but compared to the average individual, I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable. I can interpret 17th century literature, debate the ethics behind the evolution of the industrial food complex, and get pretty far in solving trigonometric functions. However, even with all my capabilities, I still cannot further my educational career. Why? Because I do not have the credits necessary to continue on the path to obtaining a higher education.

The credit system, whether it be in high school or college, is straightforward. It specifies that for every class you take, a certain number of credits are allotted to you depending whether or not you pass a course. In order to graduate, you need to take a certain number of classes to fulfill the number of credits required by the educational institution. Only then can you obtain a degree.  

Unfortunately, this is how most schools throughout the country are run. Or so I thought.

After doing some investigating, I discovered that the University of Wisconsin has brought itself to offer a college degree which requires no class time. Instead, the university will have a exam composed of various parts that specify to the major of the test taker.  

Students or individuals returning from the workforce to obtain a college degree will not have to sit through general education classes. They will not have to worry about not passing a course or being short a few credits from graduation. As a matter of fact, they do not have to overcome the hurdle of affording an overinflated four-year college education. All they have to concern themselves with is retaining the knowledge that specifies to their major.   

It was upon seeing how an institution such as the University of Wisconsin allows individuals to obtain their degrees faster that I thought to myself: why should I or anyone else be prevented from moving faster up the educational ladder? Why should my progress be hindered by a system that favors class time over knowledge?{sidebar id=66}

Schools should be focusing on becoming a vessel for learning instead of being a drawn out institution that prevents independent progress. High school graduation should be decided based on a test that judges our knowledge in the humanities, math, and science instead of a number of credits. Imagine how quickly students with moderately advanced capabilities will be able to progress in life. Imagine the tremendous contributions the students can make in various fields by simply being allowed to begin their college careers earlier by overcoming the hurdles of the “credit system.”  

Naturally, not everyone will be able to simply take this graduation test in the second or third year of high school. Some individuals require extra time in order to gain the knowledge and skills required to pass an exam like the one I previously stated. However, that does not mean that every single individual should be held back. Quite frankly, do students really need elective credits such as in art or photography even if they are going to enter a field such as in math, science or business?   

Students who can meet this level of proficiency should not be prevented from having the option of graduating early. Every scholar should be given the freedom and opportunity to fulfill their own potential by having a system that encourages them to get ahead of everyone else if they are able to. As such, we need to wean ourselves away from the “credit system” and embrace a system which awards those capable of retaining knowledge.

What do you think?