What is e2020 and how does it work?
e2020 is the name of the online program used by Douglas County and many other counties in Georgia to allow students to “recover” credits needed to meet graduation requirements. Most students in the program failed a traditional course needed for graduation and are taking it again online.
Is the program credible?
Not according to the NCAA, which will not accept e2020 credits for high school graduates because it does not meet its requirements for “nontraditional courses.”1 These include: 1) Having regular interaction with a certified teacher in that subject area for instruction and assessment; 2) Being comparable in length, rigor, and content to traditional courses; and 3) Designating clearly on official transcripts that the course is non-traditional. These requirements help ensure that earned high school credits represent actual student learning!
Is the program effective for helping students learn?
The evidence we have indicates that is not effective, at least for the student population it serves. In 2015, over 72% of e2020 students at DCHS failed the state End of Course exam (in most cases they were taking it for the second time). Additional test data has not been forthcoming.
How has e2020 impacted our county’s graduation rate?
This is difficult to quantify. Our high schools have hundreds of students taking e2020 courses and it is widely believed by administrators that it is making a significant contribution to graduation rates. For example, the Georgia State Senate Resolution that commends DCSS for its graduation rate increases identifies e2020 as one of the factors responsible for the gains (it is referred to as a “personalized learning” program).
Students in e2020 have a very high pass rate. For example, at DCHS in 2015, 100% of e2020 students passed the course, and over 90% of these made As or Bs (in spite of the high failure rate on exams). Thus, it is a very efficient way for students to get graduation credits, even if they are not learning.
What is the school system doing to improve its online credit recovery program?
After investigating the program in the Spring of 2016, sweeping changes were announced to deal with some of the most egregious problems (students finishing courses in a matter of days or weeks; students being enable to cheat on the Internet and guess more successfully on multiple choice tests; etc.). Yet the changes need to meet NCAA requirements have not yet been made.
What can I do to help hold schools accountable to run these programs rightly?
There are least two things you can do. One, communicate with your district’s board member that you care about the value of a high school diploma in our county and thus insist that all graduation credits be legitimate2. Two, you can volunteer as a CEPS representative at the high school in your district to advocate for higher academic standards, including in e2020 (email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested).
2See Board of Education page on district website for district maps