But others are concerned that the value of a high school diploma has been lessened by using less rigorous routes to graduation.
A recently released study by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Vanderbilt University offers a thought-provoking and somewhat unsettling look into the realities of how some students get credits that they need for graduation. Since 2011, “credit recovery” courses in MPS and many other school districts serving low-income kids have boomed. These courses aren’t all done online, but many are. They generally involve students who have not passed conventional courses required for graduation. And they are generally done in rooms with a lot of computers where a teacher oversees students as they work (or, often, don’t work).
The study reports that in 2016-’17, about 20% of all credits accrued in middle and high schools in MPS were completed online, and 40% of 2016-’17 graduating seniors had completed at least one course online.