Volume 28, Number 2
Course Credits on the Quick
Controversial online recovery programs speed the path to graduation
The lessons in John Rice’s English III class at Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C., are as varied as the music wafting from his students’ headphones. They veer from Death of a Salesman to Beowulf, from the meaning of “pathos” to how to write a resume.This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.
While the delivery is high-tech—online, via laptop—the students are engaged in a practice as old as summer school. They’ve all taken English III before and failed. Now, a relatively new and controversial process called online credit recovery is allowing them to advance toward graduation in a fraction of the time they would typically have to spend retaking a class.
Credit recovery is a burgeoning part of the estimated $2 billion online education industry, accounting for half of all online instruction in the country, according to a 2010 survey by market research firm Simba Information. A November 2011 study by the National Center for Education Statistics suggests that one-third of the nation’s school districts use some form of online credit recovery, among them some of the largest: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City.