Dropout Prevention: The Power of Blended and Online Credit Recovery


Katherine Anderson
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 3:15pm

Lasting Effect of Dropping Out

Did you know 2 out of every 10 students drop out of school? This stark reality is the combination of many factors, occurring over several years, which leads to a student's gradual disengagement from their academic journey until they fall behind and drop out.

October is National Dropout Prevention Month—an annual observance designed by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network at Clemson® University.  The center's hope is that the month will provide a time to focus on increasing awareness of the long-term effects on students, the economy, and society when students drop out of school. While progress in reducing school dropout rates has been made, the need for greater awareness and better methods of remediation still exist.

The effects of dropping out of school are far-reaching. Researchers at Georgetown University report that dropouts are typically qualified for only about 10% of our economy’s jobs. In addition, the Alliance for Excellent Education reports that, on average, nongraduates earn $8,000 less per year than high school graduates; rely more heavily on public health services; are more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system; are more likely to rely on various sources of public assistance and welfare; often experience quality-of-life challenges as a result of lower income levels and higher rates of public dependence; and are less likely to vote, have poorer health, and have shorter life expectancies than graduates.

Blended and Online Credit Recovery Programs

Historically, when students were under-credited and past a certain age, schools and districts had to depend on alternative programs designed for students that needed more support. These programs would often replicate the model of traditional schooling that failed to engage these students initially, forcing students to invest a great deal of time to obtain entire course credits—regardless of any already-mastered skill proficiencies.

With the advances made in educational technology in the past decade, there's now a better way to change the credit recovery model and redesign curriculum to meet these students' unique needs: blended and online learning. Already, more than 75 percent of school districts across the country use blended and online learning for expanded course offerings and credit recovery. Many of these districts are reporting success with increases in graduation rates and in number of credits recovered.

Educators find that blended and online learning programs are effective ways to reach students who fail one or more courses, become disengaged, or who seek an alternative to traditional education. Credit recovery programs provide schools and districts with cost-effective, comprehensive, and flexible tools to help students pass courses and get the credits they need to graduate.

When students have gaps in learning, blended and online credit recovery programs can allow students to focus  more closely on exactly where those gaps are—rather than investing time acquiring entire course credits. By utilizing a diagnostic-driven model offered by some blended and online providers, students can test out of the material they previously mastered in a course so they can focus on the more difficult concepts they missed.

Blended and online credit recovery programs enable students to catch up with peers, build self-esteem, and graduate on time. Formerly at-risk youths can avoid the life-long effects of dropping out and become strong members of a thriving community.


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