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Fall 2016 Credit Recovery Program Changes: Mathematics Courses

Fall 2016 Credit Recovery Program Changes: Mathematics Courses

Summary of the Changes

1. MTDA credit recovery mathematics courses are now broken up into two parts for every semester credit. For example, Algebra I A is broken up into Algebra I A Part 1 and Algebra I A Part 2. Students must take and complete both parts to get a recommendation of a semester credit from MTDA.

2. MTDA credit recovery mathematics courses include a new component at the start of each content semester, a “Course Readiness Exam.” This exam is an assessment to determine whether or not an individual student has the background content mastered to be successful in the particular assigned course. If the student fails the exam, we want to connect with you to talk about potentially connecting that student with a remedial tool to make sure they are ready for the content.


After the Fall 2015 MTDA credit recovery reboot and external study of our program, we analyzed success rates of courses across the content areas. We have identified mathematics courses as particularly challenging, both regarding the success rate and feedback from all constituencies, including students, teachers, facilitators and parents.

Based on that analysis, we have identified two factors that we believe are impacting some student’s success.

First, students are often coming to the credit recovery environment without mastery of content from previous courses. For example, students that may have a credit in Pre-Algebra, but, lack a functional foundation in that content are likely to struggle in Algebra I.

Second, the recovery of mathematics classes has proven time intensive for students. We have students that were not able to make it through an entire semester of Algebra I A, for example, and were caught by the end-of-the-semester deadline.

Details of Changes

Course Readiness Exam

At the beginning of each semester course, students will be assessed on their course readiness through an exam. This exam is not a pre-test, but, will cover content from courses that precede the course in the sequence. The exam is not proctored.

If the student scores below a 70% on that exam, the student will be stopped in the class and both the local support person and MTDA staff will be contacted via an email notification. At that point, we want to have a brief conversation with you to see if there is some remedial programming available for that student to make sure they are ready to take on the more challenging content. MTDA has resources available to you as well, including the award-winning EdReady Montana program, which is designed for just this purpose!

After the conversation, it is your choice whether to have the student move on in the course or pause for remedial work. However, we would advise that students that proceed without remedial work are less likely to be successful at mastering the content.

New Course Breakdowns

For the 2016-2017 school year, MTDA is experimenting with a new format with our four available mathematics courses, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. The formats have been broken into parts. For example, Algebra I A is Algebra I A Part 1 and Algebra I A Part 2. A student is enrolled in one part at a time and must complete both parts for a recommendation of any credit.

We make this change based on our internal data about how much content students can get through in a semester. We have also designed this change around best practices of alternative education programs in and out of Montana.

Please note: this is not intended to be a quarter-based system and the classes sometimes don’t break down as half-and-half.  We don’t allow students to enroll in Part 2 without passing Part 1.  We also do not recognize that the student has achieved their credit unless they have passed both parts.

We do plan to roll this change out to more classes in future semesters depending on feedback.

Questions? Let’s chat!

MTDA feels there is compelling data to support these changes. However, we would love to chat with you directly to answer your questions and hear if these introduce new pain points locally or improve delivery of the program.

Montana Digital Academy
Phyllis J. Washington College of Education
The University of Montana
32 Campus Drive – Room 315
Missoula, Montana 59812
Phone: 406-203-1812
Fax: 406-203-1815

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