If youâ€™ve ever found yourself debating whether you should attend class, you may be interested in a tool called â€œThe Skip Class Calculator.â€
The calculator, located on skipclasscalculator.com, asks 10 questions, such as: How many times a week do you have the class? How many days have you already skipped? When is your next test?
Can you get notes from a friend in the class?
Hit submit and the decision is made for you.
Each answer is assigned a point value and put through a formula, which weighs certain questions more heavily than others. The value produced by the formula will fit into a range of numbers that correspond to the outcome, according to the website.
But is the website valid? According to the website, â€œthe calculator has been run through dozens of scenarios by multiple testers to ensure the most logical and accurate outcome.â€
But should people take the calculatorâ€™s advice seriously?
Probably not, according to the websiteâ€™s creator Jim Filbert, who said it was only intended to be a joke.
â€œThe response from students is primarily positive,â€ Filbert said. â€œI was not surprised by this; I think students get it. They understand itâ€™s humor.â€
Some professors disagree.
â€œAny student tempted to engage this calculator should not only
skip class, but should drop out of college immediately,â€ William Briggs, an adjunct statistical science professor at Cornell University, wrote in his blog.
On the other hand, Filbert said he has gotten some positive feedback from educators as well.
â€œHalf get it and understand itâ€™s supposed to be humorous,â€ he said. â€œThey might not approve, but they still get it.â€
Steven Stack, a Colorado State University biology professor, said he wouldnâ€™t go as far as saying ditchers should drop out of school, but said students really should want to go to class.
â€œStudents who skip class are clearly wasting their money,â€ Stack said. â€œAny student who habitually misses class is only cheating themselves.â€
David Gilkey, an associate professor in the Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences Department, said the calculator might even inspire students to go to class.
â€œI think that this is a good website,â€ Gilkey said. â€œI support all possible methods to motivate students for success.â€
Filbert said he intends to set up iPhone and iPod applications
in the near future and that the newest version of the website, launched on Aug. 19, gets roughly 1,000 hits a day. Since its start in February this year, the site has made more than 36,400 calculations.
While this number may be concerning, many students do not view the calculator as a legitimate tool.
â€œI think itâ€™s an entertaining idea, but the thought of taking its advice seriously is ridiculous,â€ said sophomore environmental health major Jordan Padlo. â€œItâ€™s one of those things you do between classes to waste time.â€
Staff writer Melissa Donahoo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.