The experiences of Black students in high school credit recovery programs

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ahmad Rashad Slade (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Peck

Abstract: Credit recovery programs utilize an asynchronous online learning platform that is designed for students who are repeating a course they failed in a traditional classroom setting. Although there is a limited body of literature on credit recovery programs, credit recovery is increasingly being used in districts across the country to meet the needs of students who lack the required number of credits to graduate (Viano, 2018). The credit recovery programs researched in this study are designed for students to demonstrate that they have mastered sufficient content in a course in order to earn graduation credit. This instructional approach allowed students to work through course content at their own pace and enabled them to earn course credit in a reduced period of time. In this qualitative study, I capture the experiences of Black students enrolled in credit recovery programs. I sought to answer the following research questions: (a) What are Black students’ experiences in credit recovery programs? (b) To what do participating students attribute their success? (c) What barriers discourage students’ efforts to complete credit recovery courses? The theoretical framework for the study was built on the foundation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012). In conducting this study, I relied on in-depth interviews and lab observations as my primary data collection methods. The reader is afforded the opportunity to view credit recovery through the lens of my study participants, all of whom were Black high school students who were at least 18 years old and enrolled in at least one credit recovery course. My study findings reveal that the participants experienced academic challenges in the past but still want to succeed. I also found that students felt more accountable for their own learning in credit recovery settings. They reported performing better in the focused learning environments that the credit recovery labs provide. However, I also found that lab facilitators played limited rather than active roles in guiding individual student learning. Participants acknowledged that they were motivated by having an opportunity to meet their ultimate goal of graduating. Importantly though, the findings from my study revealed that students may develop computer fatigue and become bored and isolated while in credit recovery programs. These significant barriers can discourage participants’ efforts in completing their credit recovery course. The findings of my study led me to question the instructional strategies that are being utilized in traditional classrooms and whether credit recovery is an effective learning solution for Black students who previously failed in the traditional setting. I concluded that credit recovery is not ideal but is better than not having anything at all. In the end, all stakeholders should collectively work to ensure that the proper support follows this sub-group of students, so they can achieve their highest potential and reduce the drop-out rate of Black students across America.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
At risk, Credit recovery, Digital, Drop out, Graduation, Online
African American high school students $x Attitudes
High school dropouts $z United States $x Prevention
School credits $z United States

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