Using Online Curriculum for a Credit Recovery Program: Part 1

Friday, February 1, 2013 -- Scott Lobdell

This past week I attended Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando, Florida.   Edmentum was proud to sponsor the event giving us the opportunity to talk with education leaders from across the country.  I also had the privilege to present some ideas about Credit Recovery using online curriculum. The presentation included two parts; the reasons for using online curriculum for credit recovery and how to create an online credit recovery program. Today, I will cover part one – the reasons for using online curriculum in a credit recovery program.

We all know the importance of credit recovery – it allows a student to earn a credit for a course they previously failed and puts them back on track for graduation. But students may also have GPA issues or could be entering their senior year in need of more credits than they are scheduled to take. Before the flexibility of online curriculum, students would have to retake the class during their normal schedule or during limited times after or before school. Summer school was also an option but would still only offer one full credit of recovery.  Today’s students need a credit recovery program that provides them the time to take multiple courses and provides the flexibility to fit their schedule. This is where online curriculum fits perfectly.

Online curriculum can be the answer to many of challenges facing the 21st century educator and their students. It is a viable alternative to retaking the same course over again in the same way the student failed. Isn’t it the very definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result? Students can experience a second look at a course using a different delivery system at a pace they can handle.

Quality online curriculum will allow a student to assess what they have mastered versus what they have not. Assessment tools will then remove what the student has mastered allowing the student to work solely on the non-mastered material. This will shorten the amount of required work.

Another benefit to online curriculum is  24/7 student availability. This gives students full access during the times they want to work. Students can also recover more credit than in traditional programs due to the flexibility of online curriculum.

Developing an effective online credit recovery program allows schools to meet students where they are, demonstrating to students the importance of graduation and helping them understand the expectations  in today’s workplace.  In this way the student will see that hard work leads to accomplishment.

For most high schools (and many middle schools) nationwide, credit recovery has become a necessity. Students from all grades are in need of options to recover credit now that graduation standards have gone up and schedules have been cut back in many states. A student who begins failing classes can find themselves severely behind in credits if failed courses are not retaken as soon as possible.   Many of these students become part of our dropout problem falling into a cycle of failure and abandon any hope of graduating. These students learn to fail and see that the system, for them, does not work. Keeping a student on track for graduation early on will show a student that graduation is not an insurmountable goal and as they are walking across the stage to get their earned diploma they will see the path of open doors in front of them.   

A few years ago an Assistant Superintendent in North Florida told me that students in his district could graduate from high school and go to work for the lumber industry immediately after graduation. Within 10 years most of them can be making as much as he does. His worry – student graduation rates were falling because their credit recovery program was not sufficient. He brought in online curriculum and made a difference. His graduation rates rose and young men and women were given hope. In my next post I will discuss part two of my presentation - how to create an online credit recovery program. In the meantime, I encourage you to explore Edmentum’s credit recovery solutions or register to attend an upcoming webinar on building an online credit recovery program.