Our school is under the 4 by 4 block system, where students are taking classes for 81 minutes that meet everyday. Only a chosen select few courses still run under a "traditional" system and meet for the entire school year. However I do not think this will last. From what I have noticed with the block system, excessive absences are suicide. Unless the student is VERY conscientious, getting students to make up work can be very tedious. Our school does not have a guideline for teachers to use, so really it is teacher's discretion as to how kids make up the work. I usually give the students two days to make up what they can.
As far as how much material needs to be covered, I'm still working on what should be "cut." We were told by administration that we would not be able to cover everything we usually do (obviously) so some things would have to be cut. The question lies in what to cut. I doubt severely that the same amount should be cut out of Algebra I than out of Geometry. Since this is our school's first year on block, our department is still working on this problem.
Concerning the depth of the material covered, I think our math teachers do a good job of developing material. The problem comes in student retention. All levels seem to have difficulty with this, even my AP Calc students. So the quest continues to get the kids to remember.............
Thanks to everyone who has been contributing to this block scheduling discussion. It is very beneficial to see what's happening elsewhere.
Fatenah Issa Holy Trinity High School Chicago, IL Faissa@aol.com