Apex Learning CEO Cheryl Vedoe was invited to participate in a national conversation on credit recovery held at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C. last week. The panel, Ensuring second chances are not second-rate: A conversation on high school credit recovery, discussed among other things, online instruction, the role of the teacher within credit recovery programs, ensuring the fidelity of credit recovery implementations and how it can be used as an effective resource to keep students in school and on track to graduate.
Why is Credit Recovery Necessary?
For more than a decade, we have seen schools integrate online learning into their credit recovery programs and alternative schools to provide a different approach for students who have not been successful in the traditional classroom. There is a reason for this increase. With teachers often teaching up to six periods a day and students at different proficiency levels and with varied learning styles, it’s a challenge, even for the most experienced educators, to ensure that each student stays on track. The amount of time and effort required for a teacher to customize a daily learning plan for every student is significant.
Credit recovery has become a resource for districts and teachers to turn to support the unique learning needs of each student, providing individualized instruction tailored to each student based on his or her level of academic readiness to keep them on track for graduation. In many cases, credit recovery can be the answer, if implemented appropriately, to support achievement goals.
How Can Credit Recovery be Implemented Effectively?
Online curriculum makes it possible for teachers to offer individualized instruction based on unique student needs, which is more likely to result in higher achievement for all students. Through a balance of scaffolded, direct instruction, meaningful practice, and formative assessment, credit recovery can support students in mastering complex concepts and developing critical-thinking skills. With access to opt-in supports as well as opportunities for acceleration, rigorous, online curriculum meets each student where they are academically. Students are able to progress at their own pace, spending as much time as needed to learn the material, or moving quickly through content with which they are familiar.
When districts implement credit recovery programs, it in no way diminishes the important role of the teacher, though it does have the potential to change how teachers spend their time. Rather than focusing a majority of each class period on whole-class instruction, teachers are free to spend more time one-on-one with individual students or in small-group instruction.
With student progress and performance data readily available, a teacher can see where a student is struggling and provide the right support at that critical moment. If anything, the teacher as a facilitator of learning is even more important when digital curriculum is introduced into the classroom.
The Future of Credit Recovery
Moving forward, it’s clear districts need to establish more robust policies and procedures for credit recovery programs to ensure students are using rigorous digital curriculum to optimize student learning, while supporting their goal to stay on track to graduate. We are encouraged by the willingness of AEI, the NCAA, Chicago Public Schools and many others, to continue this conversation and seek out opportunities to drive academic outcomes and prepare students for the future through credit recovery. Check out a few of our latest efficacy studies from districts using Apex Learning credit recovery to improve student learning and increase academic achievement: https://www.apexlearning.com/resources/efficacy-studies?tag=191.