Virtually Failing


Merideth Langton

Chromebooks become CRVA students’ window into education.

The Cedar Rapids Virtual Academy (CRVA) is a fully online, self-paced learning alternative offered to students of all grade levels. I was enrolled in CRVA my entire freshman year (the 2020-2021 school year), and found the experience to be repetitive, tedious and easy to manipulate for a good grade.

453 high school students, as well as 371 elementary and middle school students, are currently enrolled in CRVA in the 2021-2022 school year.

My personal experience with CRVA my freshman year was a negative one. I took all my CRVA classes on a site called Edgenuity. Typical Edgenuity lessons consisted of five different activities: a short warm-up, a long instruction activity, a summary, an assignment and a quiz. The quiz is only ever 10 questions, with a one hour time limit.

This formula repeats for every single lesson of the class, which, as you could imagine, gets monotonous and boring. Because quizzes have 10 questions, getting just one wrong eliminates any chance at getting a high grade.The only graded assignments longer than 10 questions are the unit tests, consisting of 25 questions, and the semester final with 50 questions. The severely-limited grade opportunities make it difficult to end the year with an A, when one mistake can shoot you down into the 80% range.

This year, I am taking just two classes on Edgenuity: Spanish 2 and Geometry. I attend every other class in person. Transitioning from a self-paced remote environment, where I could wake up whenever I wanted, to in-person on a strict schedule was difficult. Because I never studied or had due dates on assignments besides the end of the semester, returning back to in-person school was harder than ever. Getting in the rhythm of completing homework and studying every night was something I needed to do. We are not encouraged to study in general while enrolled in CRVA. Naturally, I had a hard time adjusting to high school.

Coming into the end of the first semester of my sophomore year I have fully adjusted to in-person high school partially with help from my good friends lending some studying tips. My grades were not sufficient to my standards at the beginning of the year, but have since recovered during my adjustment. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend anyone enroll in a CRVA course just based on my experience.

Going from low standards with online learning to high expectations back in person is a difficult adjustment. Those interested in CRVA should be ready to commit to online schooling for all four years.