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Case Study

Switch to Apex Learning Helps Increase Graduation Rate

May 08, 2013
East Greenbush Central School District, NY


  • Graduation rate was falling and dropout rate was on the rise.
  • Teachers perceived current digital curriculum used for online credit recovery as easy for students to game the system.


Select Apex Learning for its rigorous digital curriculum, ease of use, reporting capabilities and learning management system, which included features to safeguards and ensure academic integrity.


During school year 2011-2012, the district credited the online credit recovery program in part to an increase in student achievement and a 6 percentage point increase in the graduation rate.


  • Identify new digital curriculum provider to restore credibility to online credit recovery program.
  • Improve student outcomes, prevent students from dropping out, increase the graduation rate and ensure rigor and academic integrity by changing digital curriculum providers.

Graduation Rate 6% Increase

About East Greenbush
Central School District

  • Small District
  • Combination of rural and urban demographics
  • 1 High School
  • 1,500 high school students
  • 4,300 K-12 students

Increasing Graduation Rate

Columbia High School, the single high school in the East Greenbush Central School District, increased its graduation rate to 94 percent - a 6 percentage point increase over the previous rate of 88 percent. District leaders attribute the jump to Operation Graduation, the district's dropout intervention program, which included the use of Apex Learning digital curriculum for credit recovery.

Addressing At-Risk Students

One of the challenges of credit recovery is that each student starts at a different point and has unique learning needs. In this blended learning environment, Apex Learning online courses provided direct instruction and formative and summative assessment, allowing each student to work at their own pace and focus on the specific content he or she had yet to master. The classroom teacher engaged one-to-one with each student, using real-time data to monitor student progress and performance and determine the best way to help each student achieve.

Making Learning Student-Centered

Self-paced learning made the difference. In the traditional classroom, each student worked at the pace of the whole class. With digital curriculum, learning was individualized and students worked as fast or as slow as they needed to master the material.

We are focused on constantly improving how and what we teach. The result: our graduation rate is one of the highest in the Suburban Council.

Dr. Angela Nagle



Motivating Students with Challenging Content

Students found the Apex Learning online courses more challenging, as well as more motivating. "Students learned that the more effort they put in - the better they did on tests," said Ed Kilmartin, Assistant Principal, Columbia High School. "With Apex Learning digital curriculum, I am much more confident that students are learning," he said.

Restoring Credibility with Teachers

Teachers are thrilled with the high level of rigor. "Teachers and staff have gone the extra mile to support students and keep them on track to graduate. This is evidenced by the time and hard work teachers are putting into helping students finish their courses and succeed," said Kilmartin.

Expanding to Middle School

The district will expand the Apex Learning digital curriculum to middle school students to help them build their skills in reading and math before advancing to high school.

Several students who used Apex Learning digital curriculum for credit recovery said they felt more confident and prepared when they took the New York Regents exam (state exam).

Ed Kilmartin

Assistant Principal, Columbia High School