Online Credit Recovery as an Effective Intervention for American Students at Risk of Dropping Out of High School
Boyd, Jesse Travis
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The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which online credit recovery is effective at allowing students to regain lost credits and to determine any differences that may exist in credit recovery based on a student's gender, socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, and course taken. This study analyzed these differences in respect to core and elective online credit recovery courses. Every school year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2001). One in four African American students and nearly one in five Hispanic students attend high schools where graduating is not the norm (United States Department of Education, 2013). Poor students (bottom 20 percent of all family incomes) are five times more likely to drop out of high school than high-income students (top 20 percent of all family incomes) (Chapman, Laird, Ifill, and KewalRamani, 2011). On average, 72 percent of male students earn a diploma compared with 78 percent of female students, a gender gap of 6 percentage points that has remained virtually unchanged for years (Education Week, 2013). Research has shown that students who miss or fail academic courses are at greater risk of dropping out of school than their peers. To re-engage these students researchers recommend that schools provide extra academic support (Dynarski, Clarke, Cobb, Finn, Rumberger, and Smink, 2008). Extra academic support has most recently come in the form of online credit recovery. The results of this study showed that online credit recovery is an effective instructional method for students in need of recovering lost core and elective credits. The results showed that females outperformed male students, and more affluent students recorded a higher pass rate than less fortunate students. Hispanic and Black students received a passing grade at a rate comparable to White students. Results varied depending on the course a student took. Instructional leaders, who are dedicated to the promotion of student learning and the quality of instruction, should consider it a priority to recognize the emerging trends in dropout prevention and to assess the effectiveness of online credit recovery programs.
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