Credit Recovery: How to Quickly Get Students Back on Track for Graduation with Minimesters

Oct 24, 2023
Shutterstock 141889615

This year has presented many challenges for students, teachers, and administrators. Many students have fallen behind and getting caught up to graduate with the rest of their class can feel intimidating. Minimesters can be a great approach to help these students quickly recover credits, begin building academic momentum, and gain confidence in their ability to make it to the graduation finish line. Here are eight common questions answered to help your school or district get started with minimesters for credit recovery!

What is a credit recovery minimester?

Minimesters are condensed academic terms (typically only several weeks in length) that allow students to earn credits toward graduation at an expedited pace and outside of the standard semesters. Minimesters are a great option to get at-risk students caught up and back on track in time to graduate with their cohort.

Why should I use online courses to offer minimesters?

Utilizing an online or virtual learning partner is an effective approach for minimesters because online courses offer students the flexibility of 24/7 access to their lessons, assignments, and instructors and allow them to complete their work as their schedules allow. Additionally, online courses can often be offered as “preassessment” course, where students can test out of units they have already mastered in order to quickly work through the course and earn the complete credit.

What kind of online learning partner can provide minimester courses?

Many districts and schools leverage a digital curriculum like Courseware and Apex Courses by Edmentum with their own staff, paying their district teachers a stipend to teach minimester courses. Other schools chose to partner with a fully online academy like Edmentum’s EdOptions Academy to provide both digital curriculum and state-certified teachers of record. The most important things to take into consideration are the quality of the digital curriculum and your school’s or district’s staffing resources.

What kind of students are minimesters most effective for?

Juniors and seniors needing to get back on track are most common participants in minimester courses, but some schools do offer the opportunity to freshman and sophomore students who want to avoid falling behind. Keep in mind that the shortened timeframe of minimesters can be a challenge for some students. To be successful, students need to self-directed and highly motivated—graduation eligibility is a great motivator in some cases!

Is there a time of year that works best to offer minimesters?

Typically, minimesters are offered at the end of one semester, before the next one starts. December is the most popular time for minimesters because students are able to work on online courses during winter break at any time that is convenient for them and their families. Spring and summer breaks can also offer opportunities to offer a minimester, when students are less occupied with their standard coursework.

Can minimesters be used for situations other than credit recovery?

Credit recovery courses lend themselves well to minimesters because the curriculum can be shortened based on the student’s prior knowledge. However, minimesters can be offered as an option for any students looking to get ahead, quickly fulfill a specific postsecondary- or career-goal-related requirement or to complete a credit that they are struggling to fit into their standard semester schedule. Regardless of the situation, a high level of student motivation is the key to success.

Are there any situations where a minimester is not a good option?

Due to NCAA requirements that do not allow for preassessment courses, students interested in participating in NCAA athletics should not use minimesters as a credit recovery or original credit option. Minimesters are also not a good option for students looking to take Advanced Placement® courses, as the demanding volume and rigor of those curricula are very difficult to complete in a shortened semester.

What are some best practices to help students be successful in minimester courses?

Due to the condensed timeframe of a minimester term, realistic expectations and time management are the most important elements for success. Students should be advised to take only one course per minimester so that they can put the necessary time and focus into it. Minimester administrators, guidance counselors, or teachers can also help students determine a clear plan (including deadlines!) for how they will complete their course in the allotted timeframe.

Interested in learning more about how your school or district can partner with Edmentum and EdOptions Academy to begin offering minimesters for as little as $80 per student, per course? Check out this webinar for minimester planning tips, best practices, and more!

Additionally, our 15-minute "Planning Your Credit Recovery Program" webinar walks through the steps to create a better credit recovery strategy.

This post was originally published June 2020 and has been updated.

Get the latest education insights sent directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our Knowledge Articles