Sep 2016

Inputs Do Not Guarantee Outcomes: Getting Online Credit Recovery Right

The Los Angeles Unified School District is back in the news for its use of technology, this time for its online credit-recovery courses. In a recent editorial, the Los Angeles Times called into question the district’s record-high 75 percent graduation rate, as it said that the figure was based in part on LA Unified’s dependence on its less-than-rigorous online credit-recovery courses.

The Times has a valid point. Graduation rates should not be the standard by which school districts are judged. Actual learning—not a piece of paper—should be the goal for every student.

Yet in calling for the University of California, which has authority to evaluate whether credit recovery courses meet admissions standards, to set “clear and rigorous rules governing how much time and effort students must put into make-up courses in order to earn credit,” the editorial board makes the common mistake of equating time spent with actual learning.


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