The Effect of Online Versus Face-to-Face Credit Recovery in Algebra on High School Credit Accumulation and Graduation
The Back on Track Study: Research Brief 5
Online courses can serve as a practical way for students to recover credit in courses they have failed. These courses provide flexibility and convenience for schools and students; some may also have the potential to present course content in a more engaging and customized way than a standard face-to-face course. The Back on Track Study, conducted by AIR and the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, was designed to provide information for districts around the country faced with decisions about offering credit recovery course options. It focused on the use of online versus face-to-face Algebra I credit recovery for at-risk ninth graders.
This research brief is one in a series investigating the implementation and impacts of the credit recovery courses in the study. The first research brief in this series described the study findings comparing online and face-to-face students on their educational outcomes at the end of the credit recovery course and at the end of their second year of high school. This brief describes the study findings for students’ math course accumulation and high school graduation by the end of their fourth year of high school.
- Math credit accumulation was not significantly different for students in the online and face-to-face credit recovery courses. By the end of their fourth year, students in the online course and the face-to-face course were approximately one to two semester credits short, on average, of the six math semesters required for graduation: 4.6 credits for the online group and 4.7 credits for the face-to-face group.
- Graduation rates were not significantly different for students in the online and face-to-face credit recovery courses. Just under half of students (47%) in the online course and the face-to-face course graduated from high school within 4 years.