High School Dropouts in the U.S.
In 2009, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that the national dropout rate of young adults ages 16-24 was about 7 percent. In 2013, approximately 1.2 million students did not graduate from high school.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that, in 2012, high school dropouts were 4 percent more likely to be unemployed than those who finish high school. The absence of a high school diploma also translates to about $10,000 less in annual wages than high school graduates earn.
According to Blackboard, an online virtual learning provider, a staggering 60 percent of dropouts failed 25 percent of their classes freshman year. The conclusion can be drawn that early intervention, including credit recovery options, is vital for at-risk students.
Recovery Programs as Dropout Prevention
Recent surveys have shown that credit recovery programs are becoming increasingly popular. Many school districts are trying to alleviate the dropout problem by offering students alternative ways to regain credit. Some states, such as Georgia, take the responsibility out of the district's hands and offer online classes to all public high school students in the state. There are a variety of ways students can enroll in credit recovery, but in many schools teachers or school counselors identify the students who should participate.
Different Types of Credit Recovery Courses
Back in the day, credit recovery programs meant summer school. Today, this term can be applied to various learning methods, all with the same intended outcome. In addition to credit recovery programs that call for traditional face time, students may be able to complete these courses entirely online or in hybrid format.
Many schools offer flexible on-campus credit recovery programs. Depending on the institution, students may be able to participate in before- or after-school programs. Additionally, these courses may be offered during regular school hours or on the weekends. This type of program may benefit students who are not disciplined enough to handle more independent work, which is required in online or hybrid courses.
Students who participate in a fully virtual program get to work at their own pace. They can usually work from home (or anywhere else). Interaction with instructors is completely online. Teachers are still able to personalize lessons and offer feedback throughout the course. In Georgia's program, students take tests at their home school, but they complete coursework on their own time. Online courses are intended for students who are motivated and can work independently.
Many students need to have time to 'check-in' with their teacher and have concepts explained in person. Programs in the hybrid format offer students this opportunity. These programs may call for on-campus computer labs where students can work independently, but also have access to a teacher to answer questions. Other hybrid programs offer the course both in-person and online.
Continue reading for information about one state's implementation of online courses that are designed to benefit at-risk students and potential high school dropouts.