Summer is right around the corner and I'm sure many of you have students who will need to take some sort of Credit Recovery course. While it's no secret that some students learn better online than others, using an online credit recovery program of sorts is not uncommon, despite learning differences, because it's convenient. Students don't have to go into school during their summer, parents don't have to worry about figuring out a way to get them there, the student re-takes the course and the grade is emailed to the counselor...easy, easy, easy. According to K12, there are a number of common misconceptions that lead to mistakes when implementing credit recovery online, and when these mistakes are made, it is often the student who suffers. Let's go through some of these together...
1. Students taking an online course do not require support. In this digital world, it is easy to assume that every student is profficient on the internet and shouldn't have any problem logging in and accessing their class. Even though online courses are meant to be convenient in this sense, they are sometimes more challenging in the begining for students who are not as comfortable navigating websites. For this reason it is important that all students taking online courses have some sort of support or mentor who can help them master the art of online learning and thus succeed in their course!
2. Credit recovery is for juniors and seniors. This is a common misconception because many people associate online learning with maturity--a student must be disciplined enough to be an independent worker and self-starter. This is true, however, younger students can also benefit greatly from credit recovery. It provides them with an opportunity to make up for certain learning difficulties or skill deficits and also helps them stay on track for graduation instead of getting behind (even as a Freshman or Sophomore).
3. Credit recovery programs are expensive. There is a cost to online learning, but there is also an often greater cost to classroom instructions--especially in the summer! Just think about all of the differnt costs involved when holding summer school: teacher, utilities, extra personnel for supervision, facility usage fees, janitorial fees, not to mention the parents who incur additional costs by simply bringing their child back-and-forth to school at odd hours of the day. Online credit recovery programs have additional up-front fees, but the long-term savings far outweighs the the cost.
4. Online credit recovery courses are easy. Just because something is convenient doesn't mean it's easy. "Successful credit recovery programs use a curriculum designed to engage and challenge students to master core concepts so they can build on that knowledge and confidently move to the next level."
5. Students work indepedently, so there is no need for schedules, goals, and reviews. "A common misconception regarding credit recovery, and online learning is general is that the courses are "flexible"-meaning students can work without any clear objectives or timeline to complete the course. On the contrary, a successful credit recovery program is focused on course completion in a timely manner. This means creating a course start/completion schedule that is crafted for students based on individual circumstances and learning skills... Students meet weekly with a mentor or teacher to review their progress. When students fall behind, the schedule is readjusted and assistance is provided on the specific problem or leaning hurdle to get them back on track."
So be sure that, if you're trying to incorporate an online credit recovery program, you set realistic goals, train your staff, track student progress, offer an engaging and challenging curriculum, and don't assume that every student learns the same or has the same abilities.
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