Six Best Practices in Credit Recovery

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 -- Eric Swanson

Credit recovery is vital to the success of your students. However, it can be difficult to determine the best way to provide a credit recovery program. Here are six best practices to implement a successful online 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 versus 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 via email, LMS messaging, on site, or another designated location for content questions.
  • Model, post, and teach procedures for common tasks, such as asking for help, logging in, and logging out.

6. Allow for Customization 

Make the course 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 from learners’ use of social media platforms.
  • Import your own documents, links to websites, or slideshow presentations to supplement classroom assignments and expectations.

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