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DeKalb schools: How online credit recovery students measure up

Online credit recovery classes, where students who fail a course on their first attempt retake it online, are booming in Georgia and nationally.

Educators say online credit recovery courses can keep students from dropping out. They can work through the online lessons at their own pace and on their own schedule. And some students say they prefer online courses to traditional classrooms.

Read more: Retaking classes online: ‘Awful if someone really wants to learn’

But some teachers and students say the largely unregulated courses do more to boost graduation rates than help students learn material they didn’t get the first time around, leaving them with high school diplomas but without the skills they need to succeed in college or at work.

Statewide, about 90 percent of Georgia students who took one of these courses last year in subjects covered by state tests passed the course itself. But an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of results of the state-required tests found only about 10 percent of them were proficient in the subject.

In DeKalb about 80 percent of students in those classes passed the course. About 10 percent were proficient in the subject.

DeKalb officials said if those rates hold true across course subjects, it would be “cause for deeper analysis.”

“We would need to examine as a district what is happening in the online credit recovery program or what is happening in the face-to-face program to determine possible causes and then address them,” DeKalb’s Stacy Stepney said.

Read more: Retaking classes online: ‘Awful if someone really wants to learn’

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