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Online credit recovery: Enrollment and passing patterns in Montana Digital Academy courses

Region:
Northwest
Description:
Most U.S. school districts (88 percent) offer credit recovery programs that allow students to make up courses that they need to meet graduation requirements. Online credit recovery options are popular, especially in rural states, because they allow schools to serve students in remote areas throughout the year, across a range of subjects, and with few additional resources. Such programs offer students greater flexibility and choice, which results in more opportunities to make up classes and a greater likelihood that they will stay in school and stay on track to graduate. Despite the growing popularity of online credit recovery courses, however, there is still little research about which students take these courses or how well they perform in them. This REL Northwest report addresses that gap by examining 2013/14 data from the Montana Digital Academy (MTDA), the only statewide funded program offering online credit recovery courses in Montana. The report provides a descriptive analysis of course-enrollment and course-completion patterns and also draws on interviews with education leaders across Montana to provide context and to describe other credit recovery strategies in the state. The analysis finds that more boys than girls enroll in MTDA online credit recovery courses, and students in grades 10 and 11 make up a larger proportion of MTDA student enrollment than those in grades 9 or 12. More students enroll in MTDA online credit recovery courses in English language arts than any other subject area. Slightly less than 60 percent of MTDA online credit recovery students receive a passing grade, with passing rates lowest in math (49 percent) and English language arts (52 percent). Also, students who take one MTDA online credit recovery course per semester have lower passing rates (40 percent) than those who take multiple courses in a semester. The report offers educators an early look at the potential of online credit recovery courses to help struggling students get back on track to graduation. It can also help state leaders compare MTDA to other online programs and to identify possible areas for additional investigation or improvement when designing credit recovery options.
Publication Type:
What's Happening
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Publication Date:
June 2016
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