School Skip Calculator gives students an unscientific way to opt out of their academics

By Tim Jones

Collegian Staff
The alarm clock’s maddening siren wails; it’s still hazy and grey in the wee hours, and the biology homework that’s due today still hasn’t even been taken out of its folder for a first examination. Today, you just want to skip class.

This feeling is not a rare one amongst college students, and so Web entrepreneur and recent college graduate Jim Filbert has given students a new tool: the “Should I Skip Class Today? Calculator”, which predicts whether skipping class is in a student’s best interest.

After answering several questions related to the context of the class in question, such as inputting the number of times the class has been skipped already, whether or not the professor has an attendance policy and the days of the week on which the class is held, the site tells its users whether or not skipping the class they already want out of is a good or terrible idea.

“The calculator serves as a type of checklist of things a student should consider when considering skipping class,” Filbert said.

According to Filbert, the site actually works as a functioning calculator to determine several statistics about a class, such as the percentage of classes already skipped and how many days away the next test or quiz will be held.

Of course, the ultimate decision rests with the student, as the site only predicts what it claims is the percentage of how safe it is to carry through with skipping class.

To take the website seriously and use it as an actual factor in deciding whether or not to skip class may prove to be a risky move. The disclaimer on the site also warns students that the calculator is strictly for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken seriously.

According to the website, “We do not condone skipping class and cannot be held responsible for a poor decision on your part.”

However, the website does claim the accuracy of its answers have been ensured by multiple testers, all of whom have run through all of the possible situations many times.

There is very little indication on the site to suggest that the testing of these situations is scientific.

“The calculator has been run through dozens of scenarios by multiple testers to ensure the most logical and accurate outcome,” according to the site’s FAQ page, which, in the view of many students, is a way in which the site feeds students common sense solutions to the timeless question: to play hookie, or not to play hookie?.

Filbert, the site’s developer, claims the project is a tool which students can use to organize their priorities for a given class.

He added that the his site’s calculator “is not designed to be used by a student every time they are about to go to class.”

University of Massachusetts senior Lioi Luo likes the concept, but wouldn’t take the advice seriously. “I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t think I would actually follow the percentage of how safe it is to skip class too closely,” he said.

The site launched on Aug. 13, though it underwent several developmental changes since Feb. 10. Since its release, it has been gaining steady popularity. A Facebook group for the site currently has over 7,000 members and continues to grow daily. The site is still under development for additional features, which have not yet been revealed by its creators.

Reviews on the site consist of a few choice words from several students, identified only by their first name and college.

Filbert added that several professors and universities have expressed antipathy toward the site, with the general consensus that students shouldn’t be looking for an excuse and should go to class.

“The calculator has been met with some hostility by professors, retired professors, administrators, parents, and even students,” said Filbert.

Tim Jones can be reached at [email protected]