COA test pilots final exams


Ryann Jorgensen

Katelynn Aspenson works on her online class.

Final exam season is here once again, but with thousands of online school students and the fear of spreading COVID-19, Chandler Online Academy (COA) administrators decided against requiring its students to take the final exam. 

Final exams used to be critical for completion of COA courses as in-person testing verified the students learned the material and did not simply cheat their way through the semester. Now, high schoolers enrolled in Chandler Online Academy will not be forced to endure finals season. 

In a typical school year,  Chandler Online Academy students would take final exams in person. Jarrett Pack, the director of COA, explains, “Due to concerns of in-person testing thousands of online students, and without a solution for virtually proctored testing yet established, the requirement for students to take an end of course final exam has been temporarily withdrawn.”

The requirement may be gone, but for some, the opportunity is still there. Some teachers will be selected to host voluntary finals for their students with a new pilot program that is designed to be more secure. Pack says, “A..test pilot…is planned for select teachers and courses for the end of this semester in December.  This will allow administration the opportunity to analyze results regarding operations for the student, teacher, and system and make necessary corrections prior to the full rollout in the 3rd Quarter.” He says that students of select teachers will have the option to volunteer to take finals. For those who choose finals, Mr. Pack says that they “will not incur a negative impact on their overall grade, but can only improve their grade through participation.”

Many students are happy with the decision, such as Katelynn Aspenson, a Junior taking COA. She says that not taking finals is “a relief because I don’t have to stress out about studying and if I’m going to fail or not.”  COA Junior Lucas Dellner shares similar sentiments, and says he recommends “for COA to not do finals at all because I’m already tired enough from their confusing and [weird] way of teaching.” Online school can be rough, so it is not surprising how frustrated some students get at the fast-paced nature of it. Neither Aspenson nor Dellner are excited about having to take final exams fourth quarter.

Some teachers seem to be replacing an actual final exam with a mock final. Dellner says he is not taking actual finals and is taking “end of the class tests” instead, which will be submitted just like any other virtual test. 

It has yet to be seen whether the COA pilot program will succeed; if it does, it will open up the opportunity of a healthy and safe exam season for online students, taken from the comfort of their own home.