Why the Boom in Online Credit Recovery Courses May Be Hurting Students

May 25, 2017

DIPLOMA FACTORIES: Ninety percent of schools rely on some form of online credit recovery, which offer alternatives to a full-semester course for students who have failed to pass a class required to graduate. With graduation rates explicitly tied to high-stake accountability measures, these courses are often the easiest—and cheapest—option to making sure students can walk the stage. They get the diploma, and schools get an increase in funding. A win-win, right?

Maybe not. In an article posted on Slate this week, author Zoë Kirsch contemplates the quality of these online programs and how their proliferation is changing the value of high school diplomas. It turns out online credit recovery courses might not substitute for traditional classroom instruction, something many K-12 educators cite concerns over. “They’ve created a second-class credit,” Jeremy Noonan, a former teacher, says of the technology.

In the credit recovery programs, students already struggling to succeed are put behind a screen a screen and told to self-direct their own learning. While the article suggests this may work for some students—offering autonomy and the ability to self-pace—for others it has resulted in a lack of motivation, a spike in cheating, and a decrease in academic proficiency.

High school teacher Sabrina Anfossi Kareem says in the piece: “Kids who need the most engagement in learning are in a weird virtual reality that confirms learning is something to hate.”

Why the Boom in Online Credit Recovery Courses May Be Hurting Students

May 25, 2017

DIPLOMA FACTORIES: Ninety percent of schools rely on some form of online credit recovery, which offer alternatives to a full-semester course for students who have failed to pass a class required to graduate. With graduation rates explicitly tied to high-stake accountability measures, these courses are often the easiest—and cheapest—option to making sure students can walk the stage. They get the diploma, and schools get an increase in funding. A win-win, right?

Maybe not. In an article posted on Slate this week, author Zoë Kirsch contemplates the quality of these online programs and how their proliferation is changing the value of high school diplomas. It turns out online credit recovery courses might not substitute for traditional classroom instruction, something many K-12 educators cite concerns over. “They’ve created a second-class credit,” Jeremy Noonan, a former teacher, says of the technology.

In the credit recovery programs, students already struggling to succeed are put behind a screen a screen and told to self-direct their own learning. While the article suggests this may work for some students—offering autonomy and the ability to self-pace—for others it has resulted in a lack of motivation, a spike in cheating, and a decrease in academic proficiency.

High school teacher Sabrina Anfossi Kareem says in the piece: “Kids who need the most engagement in learning are in a weird virtual reality that confirms learning is something to hate.”

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