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Online Credit Recovery May Yield Little Return

Due to our modern technology, high school students who struggle in classes today have the opportunity to turn to “online credit recovery” courses. However, new research is showing that these courses may be doing more harm than good.

“Today, the first large-scale, randomized controlled trial of student performance in these courses is out from the American Institutes of Research, and the news is not great,” reported NPR.

“AIR followed 1,224 freshmen in the Chicago public schools, randomly assigned in the summers of 2011 and 2012 to retake second-semester algebra either face-to-face or on a computer.”

The article states that students who took the classes online were actually 10 percent less likely to pass than those who were selected to take the classes in a normal setting. A shocking 69 percent of students actually failed or received a D when using software to help them study.

“Online students reported that the class was more difficult and that grading expectations were less clear,” according to the report.

“They liked math less and had lower confidence in math afterward.”

That’s not all, the "cost-effective" pitch used in advertising may also be an inaccurate representation of the actual cost for these courses. The only seemingly silver lining for “online credit recovery” courses comes with facilitation.

“The students taking the online courses usually did so in a lab with an in-person ‘mentor’ whose duties included troubleshooting the technology, proctoring exams and managing behavior,” according to the report.

“When these mentors took the initiative to also provide instructional support—that is, help with the actual math—then the pass rates for those students rose to match that of the face-to-face students.”

Technology certainly has its advantages and disadvantages, however, “online credit recovery” courses seem to have a lot of work to do before they can become a useful tool for educators.

Read the full story here.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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