An online program that has helped boost North Carolina’s high school graduation rate is drawing questions from state education leaders who wonder whether the results are too good to be true.
Thousands of N.C. high school seniors annually pass online credit recovery courses, which allow them to retake parts of classes they failed to earn credits needed for graduation. But credit recovery is now being reviewed as State Board of Education members question what’s happening in these locally run classes around North Carolina.
“I’d love to know how many seniors are utilizing this as a way to cross over that line to say I graduated and take a course in two weeks,” board member Becky Taylor said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Sometimes it makes you wonder if there’s a little bit of a numbers game going on.
“ ‘We’ve got to have these kids graduating.’ I hear this from teachers, and that is very concerning to me that may be the way we’re utilizing this in our districts.”
The state’s graduation rate rose to a record 86.5 percent this past school year. School districts have touted programs such as credit recovery with helping keep more students on track for graduation.
Amid the potential concerns about credit recovery, the state Department of Public Instruction plans to do a statewide survey of school districts and charter schools and potentially recommend policy changes to the state board.
North Carolina public school students who fail a high school course have two options. They can retake the entire course or they can use credit recovery, in which students only retake parts of the course online to get a pass/fail grade. If they successfully complete that portion, they get credit for it, but the original grade remains on the transcript.