A recent randomized study evaluated the effectiveness of a summer program to recover credits in high school, comparing two delivery modes: online vs. in-class directed by a teacher.
Students who failed the Algebra I or English 9 courses from schools in Los Angeles were randomly assigned to receive the credit recovery program online or in-class. For the Algebra course, 305 students were assigned to the online delivery and 308 to the in-class program. For the English course, 564 students were assigned to the online delivery and 560 to the in-class program.
The researchers used three measures of impact: credit recovery rates at the end of the program; district PSAT math and reading tests; and a researcher-made end-of-course test to evaluate student outcomes. The results of the latter may be overestimated due to the type of measure used and are not reported in this summary.
For the Algebra course, results showed a non-significant difference between the two groups in credit recovery rates, with the online class 6 percentage points lower than the in-class program. There was also no difference between the two groups on PSAT math (ES = -0.03). For the English course, results showed a significant difference between the two groups in credit recovery rates. The online class was 15 percentage points lower than the in-class program. There was no difference between the two groups on PSAT reading (ES = +0.04).
Source (Open Access): Rickles, J., Clements, M., Brodziak de los Reyes, I., Lachowicz, M., Lin, S., & Heppen, J. (2023). A multisite randomized study of an online learning approach to high school credit recovery: Effects on student experiences and proximal outcomes. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 0(0), 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2023.2198524