17 Quick Tips for Your Credit Recovery Program

Monday, November 3, 2014 -- Beth Holine

At Edmentum, we have helped thousands of schools get their students get back on track, and we know that running an effective credit recovery program is not easy. However, it is vital to your students’ success, so we wanted to help by putting together 17 tips for your credit recovery program. In order to make our tips most relevant to you, we have split them into tips for the district level and tips for the school level. Enjoy!

Tips for Districts

  1. Have clear, well-defined standards to your credit recovery programs.
  2. Verify to make sure your program will meet your state standards for credit recovery (if applicable).
  3. Determine the preferred mode of delivery for your credit recovery program(s) (direct instruction, computer assisted instruction, an online program either fully virtual or with blended implementation, etc.).
  4. Make sure that you budget for creating/adapting curriculum or work with a vendor to provide proven, pedagogically sound resources for your schools.
  5. Parental involvement is a must, so be sure you have a process that engages parents and requires parental consent for participation in your program.
  6. Have criteria to determine eligibility for participation in the credit recovery program.
  7. Make sure you have the systems and technology in place to track your student and program data. Utilize your data to make informed decisions, including:
    1. Determining who is most at risk for dropping out and who is most in need of credit recovery programs.
    2. Tracking the performance of the students participating in the program, as well as the program as a whole. 
  8. Ensure teachers and administrators have the professional development and resources they need to be successful. It is a good idea to recommend that teachers get certified in the subjects they are overseeing.

Tips for Schools

  1. Offer support classes or after-school courses for credit recovery for students at high risk (e.g., below 2.0 grade point average). Make sure these offerings are flexible enough fit in students’ busy schedules.
  2. Make sure your program allows for individualized instruction and has adequate student support.
  3. Monitor your student performance data often to ensure students have mastered the material before moving forward in the program and especially before being awarded credit. This will also help you identify who is continuing to struggle on what topics, so you can spend your time on the material and with the students who need it most.
  4. Make sure you budget for creating/adapting curriculum, or work with a vendor to provide proven, pedagogically sound resources for your students.
  5. Convene a panel of principals and teachers to peer review each credit recovery course to ensure it aligns with your state and district standards. You will also want to make sure the content is engaging and interactive.
  6. Have an approval process for participation in your credit recovery program. This could be as simple as using a small group (school leadership team, school improvement team, grade level team, or other school committee). It is also helpful to include the guidance counselor responsible for the student and a teacher from the appropriate subject area.
  7. Continue to review data to help inform traditional classroom instructional decisions that will, over time, reduce the number of students needing credit recovery options.
  8. Track the performance of the students participating in the program, as well as the program as a whole. You want to make sure you can pin point where the program is working and where the program has room to improve.  
  9. Parental involvement is a must; be sure you have a process that engages parents.

Need more than just these quick tips? We can help! Find out more information here about how we can help you implement a successful credit recovery program.

Bonus Items!

What questions do you need to ask when planning your credit recovery program?

1. Planning

 When you are planning your online learning program, make sure you consider the following:

  • What are the goals of the program?
  • How you will measure the success of the program?
  • How will your program be structured?
    Think about the timeline, the location, and the resources for students.
  • What are the policies of the program?
    Determine who students should contact with course-related questions versus program-related questions, and determine how the grading of tests and assignments will work.
  • How will you make the district/other schools aware of your program?
    Leveraging your school's success across the district is important. Make sure you are keeping the right people aware of your program.
  • How will curriculum decisions be made?
    Who will determine the curriculum, and who will be in charge of customizing coursework? Determine how credit will be awarded.
  • How will assessment decisions be made?
    Determine when students will be assessed. Will these assessments be district or classroom based?

2. Identification

How will you define which students will be brought into the online learning program?
Make sure you define a process for these students to be nominated or assigned into the program. Also, make sure you determine the line between students who need credit recovery and students who simply need to retake the class.

3. Expectations

Make sure everyone involved in the program (administrators, teachers, learners, and parents) know the expectations of the program. Some programs have found success using student contracts, asking both parents and students to read and sign the program expectations. Follow through with the communicated expectations, requiring everyone to follow the processes determined.

4. Monitor Progress Regularly

Set dates to monitor students’ progress. Set up one-on-one time with each student at regularly scheduled intervals. Meet with the team of instructors and administration involved with the online learning program to regularly go over student progress and determine any improvements that should be made the following semester/year.

5. Invest In and Support Your Learners

This best practice can seem obvious but can sometimes be overlooked. Here are some ways you can make sure you are supporting and investing in your learners:

  • Provide a consistent time for learners to access content.
  • Provide opportunities for student peer support.
  • Create a portfolio for learners to maintain.
  • Create an incentive plan for learners who master specific modules or meet agreed-upon milestones in an appropriate timeframe.
  • Have learners take notes in a dedicated course notebook for future use and for reviewing prior to tests.
  • Have specific content teacher(s) available for content questions via email, through LMS messaging, on site, or at another designated location.
  • Model, post, and teach procedures for common tasks, such as asking for help, logging in, and logging out.

6. Allow for Customization 

Make the program work for your school.

  • Rearrange the modules in courses to reflect your school’s course syllabus.
  • Consider using the general class discussion board or threaded discussions with your online classes to elicit deeper student conversations around topics; this is a natural extension of learners’ use of social media platforms.
  • Import your own documents, links to websites, or slideshow presentations to supplement classroom assignments and expectations.

Want to learn how Edmentum can help you provide proven, engaging courseware for your credit recovery program? Learn about Plato Courseware here.

References

http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/03/08/online-credit-recovery.aspx

http://www.centerii.org/handbook/resources/4_c_h_credit_recovery_programs_hs.pdf

http://blog.edmentum.com/six-best-practices-credit-recovery