Jaclyn A. Thomas, PhD

In an ideal world, students would only have to take a course once to be successful. But as we all know, life gets sticky and sometimes we are met with unforeseen obstacles that prevent those ideal situations from happening.

Enter Online Credit Recovery Courses.

Online credit recovery courses are intended to help students recover credit from previously failed attempts. They are designed to provide a personalized pathway for students who have a history of course failure, offering them an avenue to success and preventing them from falling even further behind. These abridged courses are designed to be self-paced, highly individualized, and tailored to each student’s specific needs.

In their ideal format, students start with a skills-based pre-assessment and based on the results, the dynamic online course releases selective content associated with that student’s specific skill deficiencies. This means students waste less time learning what they already know, freeing up valuable time to instead focus on the knowledge they do not have or the skills they still need to master. By having students engage only with this selective content, they can recover credit and get to the graduation stage much faster than if they had to take the whole course in its entirety again.

Over the last two decades, credit recovery courses have been credited (get it?) with the soaring of graduation rates from just under 70% in 2007 to about 84% by 2016. These numbers inspired many schools to implement credit recovery programs, with upwards of 90% of school districts now offering some type of credit recovery program.

However, with the world turning on its head since the pandemic of 2020, dropout and graduation rates have taken a big hit. In 2020, 2 million students (roughly the population of Nebraska) between the ages of 16 and 24 dropped out of school. In 2021, 31 states saw a decline in graduation rates – more than twice the previous year!

With so many falling behind in course work and struggling to graduate, now more than ever, we need credit recovery programs to support our students.

But as it turns out, designing effective online credit recovery courses is not particularly easy…

There has been documented concern about the effectiveness of current online credit recovery programs, with many of them being accused of offering low-quality instructional materials, demonstrating no perceivable improvements in long-term learning success, and offering no improvement to a student’s ultimate earning potential in the labor market.

So how is StrongMind’s credit recovery program different?

Well, to make sure we understood all the nuance of credit recovery, we started by conducting in-depth interviews with industry experts in schools and districts across the U.S. In these interviews, we discussed their experience with existing credit recovery programs, identified what works and what does not work, and homed in on the critical components that lead to long-term student success in recovering credit.

A memorable quote from one of our industry experts captures the essence of what we believe our credit recovery program should do for our students:

“Whatever helps clear the path… Do that.”

StrongMind’s research-informed credit recovery solution offers a standards-based virtual curriculum that is available 24/7 and is designed to engage and support students who have faced challenges completing coursework and thus making it to graduation.

Our innovative program targets specific learning gaps, provides essential instruction, and aims to ensure students complete coursework with passing grades. Our advanced approach leverages assessment results to deliver content aimed at identified skill or knowledge deficiencies, ultimately enhancing the efficiency of the learning experience.

StrongMind is dedicated to clearing the path to graduation so that students have a chance to be successful with minimal setbacks. Our credit recovery program is just one example of the many ways we work to foster our students’ academic success.

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