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Originally posted July 30, 2012
Credit recovery courses help students keep from falling behind.
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
(Reprinted with Permission. This is not an endorsement.)
Credit recovery courses are the new summer school.
Students who have fallen behind or failed a class no longer have to set aside summer vacation plans to recover those high school credits. Nor do they have to sit in a traditional classroom.
Now they can take courses online - even during school hours. (See Union's Credit Recovery program.)
"We found that with growing pressures on families to make ends meet, more students need to work in the evenings. Or many do not have transportation to get to night school," said Janet Dunlop, chief academic officer at Broken Arrow Public Schools.
The primary purpose of credit recovery programs is to keep students in school and help them graduate on time, according to a 2008 report by the North American Council for Online Learning.
Most Tulsa-area school districts offer these courses, ranging from summer and night courses, to online programs and blended programs that mix face-time and online content.
"This eliminates this barrier to promote equity in access for all students to earn the credits they need to graduate," Dunlop said.
Next school year, Broken Arrow will open a credit recovery lab so students can make up lost credit at the high school during the school day. The work will be online so that students can work at their own pace, but a highly qualified teacher will be available in the lab to help those who need it.
Union Public Schools has offered credit recovery courses for many years, said Kathy Dodd, Union's assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. Initially, they were summer and night classes before technology allowed online coursework.
"We have always placed an emphasis on students gaining mastery of important content to enable them to pass the course, demonstrate mastery on requisite exams and successfully enter college or the world of work," she said. "Over time, however, we have begun to focus more on intervention than remediation."
Union has created an intervention period in the school day so that a student may receive "proactive assistance before they fail the course and need remediation," Dodd said.
The school also offers remedial courses online to eliminate barriers such as transportation that kept students from getting tutoring before or after school, she said.
"As a result, the number of students needing credit recovery or remediation decreased by 25 percent this year," Dodd said.
Now that all Oklahoma high school seniors must pass four of seven end-of-instruction tests to graduate from high school, these classes provide another opportunity for them to make up coursework and to improve their performance on those high-stakes tests, Dunlop said.
Credit recovery classes provide "another chance for students to gain proficiency in a content area, using a different teaching format that is engaging for students," she said.