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Improving Graduation Rates: 10 Quick Tips for Effective Credit Recovery Programs

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 -- Sarah Cornelius

A high school diploma is more vital today than ever before. At the same time, more and more educators are embracing the power of flexibility, individualization, and competency-based approaches to get through to struggling students. At Edmentum, we’ve had the privilege of working with schools and educators around the country who are developing innovative methods to get students engaged in learning and back on track for graduation. In the process, we’ve gained some great insights into effective strategies and best practices for credit recovery programs. Here are 10 of our favorite tips to use at the district and school levels!

1. Create well-defined eligibility criteria and expectations for students in your credit recovery programs. Having students agree to a “contract” for participation can be an effective approach.

2. Verify that your program’s curriculum will allow students to meet applicable state standards for graduation.

3. Determine the preferred mode of delivery for your credit recovery program. Will it be housed in a dedicated classroom or building within your district? Will students receive instruction directly from a teacher, in a blended model, or through fully virtual classes, etc.? Think about choosing a format that will offer maximum flexibility for students with busy schedules and who may have struggled in the traditional classroom setting.

4. Design your program format and curriculum to allow for individualized learning that engages different learning styles.

5. Make sure that you are adequately staffed with instructors, aides, and guidance counselors for your program. Online courses can be a valuable tool if you do not have enough instructors to cover your needs. 

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6. Make real-world connections within your curriculum to motivate students and help them see the value of their high school diploma for future career and post-secondary opportunities. Career and Technical Education courses can be a great option to accomplish this.

7. Make sure that you budget for creating or adapting curriculum for use in your credit recovery program. This can either be done by members of your own staff, or by working with a vendor to provide proven, pedagogically sound resources for your schools.

8. Parental involvement is a must, so be sure you have a process in place that requires parents to acknowledge and consent to their child’s participation in your program, explains its goals and format, and offers opportunities for engagement and communication

9. Make sure you have effective systems and technology in place to track your student and program data. Utilize your data to make informed decisions about which students are candidates for your program, how individual students in the program are progressing, and the success of your program overall.

10. Ensure teachers and administrators have the professional development, ongoing training, and resources they need to be successful. It is a good idea to recommend that teachers get certified in the subjects they are overseeing.

Edmentum is proud to offer over 200 semesters of comprehensive, standards-aligned courses in core, elective, and world language subjects, as well as over 100 semesters of career and technical education courses. Interested in learning more about how your school or district can partner with Edmentum to enhance and expand credit recovery options? Check out our Plato Courseware engaging online courses proven to achieve real results!