EAGAN, Minn. – Failing a class at Eagan High School doesn’t mean a student has to sit through another year of freshman English or Math to make up credit. Nor does it mean that too many failed classes will send them straight to the alternative education program.
Students have a new innovative option: Eagan Academy, a six-week-long after school credit recovery program that uses Novel™ by EdOptions™.
Novel, a library of 39 rigorous Web-based courses, can be accessed anytime, from anywhere with an Internet connection. This flexibility means that students at Eagan Academy are required to visit the computer lab only once a week for two hours. They spend the remaining time working on the Novel courses at their own pace from home.
“The kids are really open to Novel because it’s up to them to determine how fast they get the credit back,” Thompson said.
Administrators at Eagan High used the program’s powerful pre-assessment mode to help students focus on concepts they had yet to master.
“The assessment mode evaluates where the kid is and what he learned originally, and then generates a course based on the stuff that he doesn’t know,” explained Stephen Thompson, assistant administrator for the school.
After the student completes all the course lessons and assignments, they are required to visit the computer lab for a proctored final exam to evaluate their progress. If they meet or exceed at least a 60 percent score, they receive credit for the course.
Initially, teachers were skeptical of using Web-based courses to remediate. But after seeing such success, “top tier teachers now want to sign up for it,” Thompson said.
“The kids are really open to Novel because it’s up to them to determine how fast they get the credit back.”Teachers also enjoyed Novel’s automatic reports and increased communication with students; so much so in fact, there’s a waiting list of teachers wanting to work in the after school program.
Since beginning the academy in early 2007, more than 90 percent of students who completed all of their work and took the final exam were able to recapture lost credit.
Thompson said he’s not only pleased with the results of using the rigorous curriculum, but says the Novel program has also helped reduce discipline problems at the school.
The program has been so successful that the school maintains a student waiting list to get in, motivating many current students to complete their work.
“They know if you do something wrong you’re going to end up losing your seat to someone who wants it,” Thompson said.
Now, rather than having to send students with chronic credit deficiencies away to an alternative school, Thompson says the school is able to keep them on their campus.
“We still see a huge value in having a kid sit down in a classroom and learn the traditional way, but that doesn’t fit every kid,” Thompson said. “This is kind of a ‘second shot.’”