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Spring 2021 High School Credit Recovery Briefing Page

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Spring 2021 High School Credit Recovery Briefing
Counselors, Administrators and Site Facilitators

Updated 11/20/2020

Notice to students and parents: This information is intended for distribution to public school districts and may contain details that do not apply to your local district’s program.  If you are interested in utilizing credit recovery services with Montana Digital Academy, your first contact should be to the counseling department and/or school administration of your local public school to discuss what is available locally.  Credit recovery courses are not available to students independent of a school-based credit recovery program.

COVID-19 Statement

Like your local school, MTDA staff has been working since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to evaluate our available resources and ability to expand and extend our programs. Due in part to our careful financial management, we have determined that we have the financial resources to continue to offer BOTH our traditional, school-based credit recovery, along with our “emergency” remote-only format, introduced in March 2020 into Spring 2021.  Schools should thoughtfully review both options before setting up their local school.

Our staff is working to implement as flexible and responsive of a program as we are able with the staff and resources available.

The Spring 2021 guidance below has been updated for Spring 2021, and now contains updated direction for schools implementing the MTDA credit recovery program locally.

Program Details

As noted above, MTDA will continue to offer both our traditional face-to-face and “emergency” remote-only offerings for students.

PLEASE NOTE: We are not able to facilitate moves back and forth between the two different credit recovery formats.  Again this Spring, we have worked out a process where we can transfer a student FROM face-to-face to “emergency” remote only, however, this process will take 24-48 hours to complete.  We cannot facilitate a move between “emergency” remote only back to face-to-face.  PLEASE CHOOSE CAREFULLY if you are in a school attempting to serve students with both formats.

Important Considerations about Remote Only Credit Recovery

MTDA now has three terms of experience with “remote only” credit recovery.  Our guidance has changed over time, as we have carefully analyzed student success, interviewed credit recovery students and local school officials, and tracked student progress along with our CR teacher team.  We still consider “remote only” an emergency format.  However, with our experiences this fall with the various school structures across the state (remote days/weeks, hybrid scheduling, modified blocks, flex blocks, two-/four-course A/B days, modified 4×4, etc.), we encourage schools to consider the remote only format first before utilizing the traditional CR format.

The remote only format involves:

Elimination all of the following:

  • Module Pre-Assessment: Students cannot out of modules, as we’d like them to complete all modules to prepare for the final exam.
  • Lessons Quizzes: We have eliminated the lesson quizzes.
  • Module Post-Assessments: We have eliminated module post-assessments.

Remaining requirements:

  • Completion Activities: Students must complete ALL completion activities. We strongly suggest that students be coached to slowly and carefully review these materials, along with taking good notes, using guided note pages when provided, or otherwise in a notebook.
  • Mastery Assignments: Students must complete ALL mastery assignments with a score of 65% or better.  The MTDA teacher will continue to grade assignments within 1 business school day as usual.   Students must complete all assignments at a 65% to move onto the next module.
  • Final Exam: Students must complete and pass the final exam at a 65% or better to receive a recommendation of credit in the class.  Students will still have the opportunity to retake exams if they score below the mastery level. The final exam will now be “remote proctored.” MTDA has invested in a virtual proctoring service that will monitor your activity during the exam. This process requires specific software, a process described below. Students must take the final exam alone, without any assistance. Students may not use notes, or any outside resources, including their computer or phone.
  • We have adapted the final grade formula for Remote Only to mastery assignments (70%) and the final exam (30%).

As we noted in the summer and fall, students in our Remote Only format are not experiencing the same success level as our previous credit recovery semester.  Historically, 65% to 70% of credit recovery enrollments successfully make it to the finish line of the course.  However, after more careful analysis, we believe that the primary factors that explain unsuccessful enrollments are less engagement by local support, lack of technology and/or Internet access, and competing time interests with other district-provided distance learning opportunities.

If your local schedule does not encourage or permit regular, daily engagement in your face-to-face program, we would advise using the Remote Only format so that students are able to continue working on assignments in the courses, even if the student isn’t seeing the local support every day.

However, the “X factor” for success is still daily, active local support for students, including daily interactivity with the student (physically present in your school or not), along with close daily monitoring of progress to help nudge those students along.

Traditional School-Based Face-to-Face Credit Recovery

The credit recovery program otherwise is delivered as designed.  Students must complete all of the requirements of the course for the recommendation of credit.  If you have a student that has a situation (COVID-related or not) that needs something that is more custom to their circumstance, please contact MTDA for reference to our Individualized Pathway Course program, or, consider providing a custom, low-tech solution locally.

Program Details

Are you new to the MTDA credit recovery program or have you not utilized credit recovery in more than a year?  Please contact our support desk to schedule a call to talk about the format and the requirements for support for local schools.


  • Please download a copy of our academic calendars now!
  • Courses (including orientation) are open to enrollment on Monday, November 16, 2020.  All enrollments as of November 16 are considered Spring 2021 enrollments.


  • All students new to the MTDA credit recovery program must complete the mandatory Orientation program.  The program is called “Credit Recovery Orientation” in GeniusSIS and must receive a “pass” to be able to enroll in content-specific courses.  Once a student takes and completes the orientation, they do not need to complete it again.  However, some facilitators do ask students to retake the orientation if they were not previously successful in the MTDA CR format.
  • The orientation program is approximately 2-3 hours of engagement time, dependent on student skill, reading level, and motivation.  Students that do not complete orientation in a reasonable amount of time should be considered high need enrollments and provided additional direct support locally.
  • As of Fall 2018, we have moved Credit Recovery Orientation into our “short course” format.  It is fundamentally the same as in past years, but, among other options for short courses.  Please see important details on the Short Course description page.


  • Please review our student registration page in the Site Facilitator handbook for information on data collection, entrance counseling, and student registration.  That page is here: link.

Program Information

  • Our course list for 2020-2021 is here: LINK.

Program Changes and Updates

  • MTDA has rolled out new versions of US History, World History, and Algebra I, responding to student and facilitator feedback.

Online Training Available to Facilitators and Local Support Staff

In preparation for the upcoming semester, MTDA has created two self-paced orientation workshops to help Site Facilitators and Local Support staff understand their role and expectations in this program. We have partnered with OPI’s online learning network, The Learning Hub, to provide this training as well as the opportunity to receive renewal credit. To get started, navigate to the website HERE.  Choose either the Site Facilitator or Local Support Orientation.

Enrollment keys are required for both courses. They are:

Site Facilitator course: mtdasite
Local Support course: mtdalocal

End of Semester Information and Procedures

The Spring 2021 High School Credit Recovery program ends on Friday, May 29, 2020.  We are likely to have an extension process available, however, we will wait until May to announce how we will handle this for the 20-21 school year so that we may analyze student progress data, along with monitoring the Covid-related situation in local schools.


If you have any questions, PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact the help desk, support@montanadigitalacademy.org, or, contact our office via phone, 406-203-1812.  We want to help you implement this in your school!

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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