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Fifty-one percent of high-school seniors enrolled in Volusia Online Learning have not taken the exams in English and language arts they must have to graduate, and are considered failing.

One reason for the problem? VOL’s virtual classrooms still require that the state-required assessments be taken in person.

“We have the resources to prepare them for the exams. The barrier that we’re facing is getting them to come to school to take the assessment,” VOL intern Danielle Leffler said at the Nov. 11 regular School Board meeting.

With 552 high-school seniors enrolled in VOL for the current school year, that means more than 200 seniors need to take their ELA exams, or risk not graduating on time.

The VOL team said there are far more students enrolled in VOL than ever before. Volusia Online Learning is a self-paced online learning program that has been in place for several years. Volusia Live is a different online platform that connects students to real-time classroom instruction.

One School Board member said new thinking may be necessary, in light of the pandemic and the new ways of attending school.

“We may need to think outside the box,” School Board Member Jamie Haynes said.

Haynes suggested setting up testing centers at local colleges, where students could take exams in-person, in smaller groups.

Board Member Ida Wright said progress needs to be made for the current set of students, and for future students, as well.

“You can’t have a virtual program and not actually provide virtual learning from A to Z, and testing would be included in that,” Wright said.

The VOL team said their plan is to have local areas reach out to students to offer testing times, and potentially set up additional in-person testing locations.

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