A significant percentage of Boston students struggled to achieve academic success and ended up dropping out or not graduating on time.
- Increase graduation rate
- Decrease dropout rate
- Launch online credit recovery program to support at-risk students between 18 and 20 years old who are close to graduating.
- Enlist a digital curriculum partner that supports expansion beyond credit recovery, can address the wider range of student academic needs, and integrates with the district’s SIS system.
- Graduation rate increased 8 percentage points in school years 2010–2012.
- Dropout rate decreased 3.4 percentage points in school year 2010–2011.
Expanding Access to Advanced Placement
Sparked by Superintendent Carol Johnson’s Acceleration Agenda, the district identified digital learning as a solution to engage and motivate students and improve their academic success.
Addressing At-Risk Student Support
The district launched an online credit recovery program targeting “old and close” students at risk of not graduating. Students ages 18 and 22 could enroll if they passed the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) high-stakes exam and needed less than four credits to graduate.
Providing Rigorous Digital Curriculum
After two years of varied results using a multiple-provider approach, the district selected Apex Learning for its breadth and depth of adherence to standards in its digital curriculum. “The rigor of the Apex Learning digital curriculum is what solidified the teachers’ support,” said Nancy Lenhart, teacher at Boston Public Schools.
Improving Student Outcomes
While students progressed at their own pace through the material, teachers used real-time data to monitor progress and performance and determine the best way to help each individual student achieve. With more students engaged in their learning, achievement increased. Students stayed on track and graduated, which led to a steady rise in the overall graduation rate.
Expanding to Middle School
This success led to the launch of the second digital learning initiative. “Failure is Not an Option Program” (FNOP) provided academic support for 8th and 9th graders to mitigate their risk of dropping out later in their academic career. FNOP students completed the Apex Learning online Foundations courses, designed to bring reading comprehension and math skills up to grade level.