Credit Recovery Programs come in as a life savior for students who want to boost up their grades or recover credits. The students who fail to earn the required number of credits within the designated year are left with only two options— either they can repeat the incomplete classes or complete the missing coursework.

However, both of these situations may lead the students and faculty to spend extra hours in the classroom. Credit recovery programs enable the students to make quick progress through the course material without much wait, learn the concepts, and even improve their grade point average.

Nonetheless, a K-12 credit recovery program will help you score those missing credits. Moreover, for those who had a bad semester and low grades, taking a credit recovery program will be a wiser idea than dropping out of school.

What is K-12 Credit Recovery?

The term "K-12 Credit Recovery" refers to educational strategies designed to allow students from middle school or high school to retake a particular course and earn the missing credits. Sometimes, credit recovery comes in as a rescue to students who have a black mark on their transcript, preventing them from dropping out.

Even though some collegiate institutions offer credit recovery, these programs are more common amongst high school students.

These programs’ flexibility enables students to take up a course and make up for those poor grades over the summer break or regular school hours. Over the past few years, the number of students taking online credit recovery programs has sky-rocketed, thus reducing the number of those who drop-out because of poor grades.

How do High Schools offer Credit Recovery Programs?

High schools offer Credit Recovery courses to students either through online mode or a blended mode. For instance, credit recovery programs in theoretical subjects like History are offered by an online provider. On the other hand, subjects that require lab assistance were taught in person. According to the findings of a survey:

  • 71 percent of the students took credit recovery courses through online mode only.
  • 46 percent of them preferred a hybrid blended mode— which constituted online support and in-person assistance.
  • 42 percent of the students chose in-person facilitators combined with the traditional classroom approach.

However, online credit recovery courses are comparatively newer, and the program structure may vary based on quality and design. Nonetheless, students have the flexibility to enroll in an online course and learn at their own pace or take up the brick and mortar classroom approach, along with the guidance of an in-person facilitator.

Online or Offline approach to credit recovery— which is better?

Since classroom learning is not for everyone, credit recovery through a virtual course or program may aid. Through an online platform, high school or middle school students have the choice to learn during vacations or their summer breaks. Amongst the plethora of benefits of online credit recovery programs, there are:

  • Students can learn at their own pace, without skipping over difficult topics or creating a backlog. This enables the students to learn the course material completely and clear their concepts.
  • In contrast to traditional classroom settings, online credit recovery programs give students the option to choose class time according to their convenience. It becomes easier for students to fit in these courses in their hectic schedules and learn from their homes’ comfort.
  • Lessons are imparted through experienced and certified instructors. Feedback and assistance provided whenever needed throughout the program.
  • With online courses, you get personalized lectures by instructors who adopt various teaching methods that are best suited to the ’students’ learning style.
  • The students can choose from a diverse range of courses on a single platform. The program will allow the student to fulfill the credit requirements.
  • Online courses give the chance to explore and learn well-structured course material that is well designed, engaging, and interactive. Learn in collaboration with other students.
  • Quality education sometimes a better replacement for the traditional classroom learning system, which is expensive and bears other constraints. A virtual credit recovery program will provide equal value as the brick and mortar setting and present a wide array of students’ choices.

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A virtual credit recovery program can be of great value for students who want to improve their grades without redoing the coursework. There are many virtual educational platforms with a wide array of credit recovery programs to choose from.

What is the K12 Credit Recovery Procedure?

According to the Guilford Schools Board of Education, the k12 credit recovery procedures addresses factors like student participation, the content material aligning with the original course structure, and instructional delivery methods. Moreover, the entire credit recovery process should be implemented with consistency across the district. For instance, a credit recovery program in the Guilford County School follows the procedure:

Student Participation

Those students who could not earn the required number of credits for graduation in high school are considered eligible for enrollment in the credit recovery programs. The NC State Board of Education Policy CCRE-001, in the obedience of which the students should not be limited to a particular number of credit recovery courses that should be taken prior to graduation. The policy exerts that all the students who score less than 40 percent shall consider retaking the course rather than going for credit recovery.

Course Material Alignment

The students shall go through the material offered by the credit recovery program they are applying to. This will ensure that the course they are planning to take is in alignment with their original course curriculum. Many of the online K12 credit recovery programs are designed to match the original curriculum.

Instructional Delivery Method

Generally, the credit recovery courses are offered by virtual platforms in collaboration with a technical assistance partner. A certified staff member from the school administers the credit recovery course and is then integrated with the student’s schedule. Most of the online credit recovery programs follow the default staffing model as follows:

  • The entire credit recovery course content should be web-based. The student should have access to an internet connection so that the material is accessible from school or home.
  • The certified school staff member should facilitate the labs of credit recovery courses at school.
  • The credit recovery labs may contain students from initial online credit classes or those who are working on credit recovery.

Allowable Courses

Most of the K12 credit recovery programs allow courses at the middle or high school level. The content areas include Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, English, and World Language.

Grades and Credit

It shall be noted that the credit recovery courses do not affect the student’s grade point average and are simply pass/fail. The students should score an average of 60 percent or higher to pass the credit recovery course. Moreover, they should complete the entire course material thoroughly. On the other hand, the students who want to improve their grade point average are required to repeat the entire course rather than going for credit recovery.

Time Limit

Students must consider taking a credit recovery course that aligns with their school's year-long calendar or semester. The program’s length should be decided based on the student’s skillset and knowledge of the particular subject rather than the fixed seat time.


Students should consider taking EOC assessment associated with their credit recovery courses in case they have not taken the EOC previously. The EOC assessment administration should not be delayed beyond 30 days after the completion of the credit recovery course.

The student’s final grade is then calculated, comprising the EOC score of 20 percent of the pass/fail determination.

The Debate around K12 Credit Recovery Programs

The increasing popularity of credit recovery programs has raised a question on its value. As more and more district schools are adopting some form of credit recovery, critics have

started arguing that the programs are not valuable or challenging as the original course material.

The major concern revolving around the credit recovery programs is that the students are being pushed through the system. Moreover, earning credit through "not so difficult" mediocre courses that are considered inferior substitutes of original course content is degrading the value of quality education. Additionally, the credit recovery course may not be well aligned with the original course content in terms of assignments and learning expectations that the student has failed.

It is recommended that the student investigate the structure of the credit recovery program they have decided to take. They should also consider their learning style or be better off learning in direct contact with a teacher or taking up a course online.


In simpler terms, Credit recovery comes in as an alternative to redoing an entire course to score the required number of credits to be eligible for graduation.

Specifically designed credit recovery courses focus on the student's understanding of the course material and targets standards or components necessary for the course completion. K12 credit recovery programs are pass/fail and do not affect the overall Grade Point Average of the student.

Moreover, the course will not replace the originally scored grades or grades of failed courses on transcripts. The students who wish to improve their overall GPA should consider retaking the entire course.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Credit Recovery replace your old grades?

That entirely depends on the school district's policies. For instance, some schools will allow the students to take up credit recovery courses to replace the old grade. On the other hand, others will keep both the new and old grades on your record. If the student wishes to erase their old grades, it is recommended that they make an appointment with a guidance counselor.

How much does a credit recovery course cost?

The course fee varies based on the online platform providing the course, the course material, the length of the course, and various other factors. For instance, a credit recovery course from The Keystone School costs around $116 for a one-semester course. On the other hand, a full year or two-semester course costs a total of $155.

Will taking a Credit Recovery Course boost the GPA?

Credit Recovery gives you a second chance to compensate for low grades or lack of the required number of credits and are only pass/fail and does not affect the overall GPA of the student. For grade enhancement or raising GPA, the student has to retake the entire course so that the newly scored grades replace the old.

How many high school recovery credits do you need to graduate?

The standard credit requirement for a student to graduate from high school is 21 credits. Among these 21 credits, the student has to earn three credits in maths and science, nine credits in electives, one credit in Social Science, and four credits in language arts.

How to sign up for the K12 credit recovery program?

The students who wish to take up a credit recovery course shall contact their school or speak to an enrollment consultant. There are a wide array of online credit recovery programs offered by different schools. The student shall enroll for a course that aligns with their original course material.