Edgenuity is by far the worst online learning platform I’ve ever encountered. It’s breaking our kids’ spirits, making them hate learning and stressing them beyond the breaking point. Read on for my full Edgenuity review and learn why I’m literally BEGGING my son’s school to use ANY other platform available.
Spend five minutes reading Edgenuity reviews from parents and students, and you’ll quickly see a trend emerge. Sure, some educators and employees left glowing feedback, but actual STUDENTS rarely have anything good to say about it. For those who really matter, it’s a 1-star learning platform at best (and that’s pushing it). Of course, if you’re a parent of an Edgenuity student, you don’t need to read the reviews. Just ask your kids what they think. Seriously. Sit down with them and REALLY ask them how they like the platform.
I’ve spent the last semester not only lurking on Reddit groups entirely dedicated to how much kids hate this platform but sitting by my son’s side taking screenshot after screenshot of what makes it such a subpar learning system. I rarely write negative reviews. I’m not really a negative person in general (okay, sometimes, but not here). However, I am at the point where I’m ready to get on my knees and BEG my son’s school to switch to something else. It’s THAT bad. Let me explain why (parts of this come from the actual letter that I’m in the process of writing to the school board).
Edgenuity Review: It’s the Worst Learning Platform Ever
Let me be blunt: Edgenuity is by far the worst online learning platform that I’ve ever encountered, and it has to go. Bold statement (pun intended), I know. Don’t worry, I have plenty of what I feel are solid reasons to back it up.
My son is no stranger to online learning. He spent two years in middle school in REACH Cyber, and he did very well. However, he opted to return to his old school for his freshman year so that he could have a “normal” high school experience. Of course, COVID-19 came along and blew that plan out of the water. When fall came around, I was uncomfortable with the board’s decisions regarding returning to the classroom, so we opted to remain in cyber school.
I actually wanted to switch my son back to REACH, as I was completely unimpressed with Edgenuity last year. I realize that the switch from in-class to online learning needed to happen quickly and the district did the best they could with the information and options available to them, though. My son wanted to stay in the district so that it would be easier to switch back once safe to do so. I asked about our school’s dedicated cyber academy and platform and was told that while it was still Edgenuity, I shouldn’t judge it based on our experience with it last year because it is done differently.
The Edgenuity platform that his school uses is exactly like the platform that the district used last year because it IS the same platform. Edgenuity doesn’t “do things differently,” period. Nearly every single class is organized exactly the same way nationwide. It uses outdated material that works for exactly one type of learner. Given the sheer number of kids I see complaining on Reddit about the platform, I’m guessing that type of learner makes up roughly 0.0005% of the population.
I realize that so far, I haven’t really presented my “evidence,” so let me switch gears from a more emotionally charged plea to one rooted in logic. We’ll call this section Evidence Against the Platform.
Evidence Against the Edgenuity Platform
First, yes, I have spent a lot of time on the platform with my son. I’m not just “taking his word for it” that it’s awful. I also spent time reading what other teenagers are saying about it. I’ve read countless reviews from other parents, pored over message boards and social media. I needed to answer the question of, “Is this a matter of kids just complaining about school or is there something deeper at play here?” for myself before throwing my hat into the ring on their behalf (or whatever sports metaphor works here, I don’t actually know anything about boxing).
1. Outdated information in lessons
Let’s start with an issue that isn’t even remotely subjective: outdated course material. I first noticed some issues last semester, when my son told me he got some questions wrong about statistics that were outdated. However, I let it go because it was just here and there.
This semester, he is taking an Intro to IT course, and the issues are astounding. I’ve narrowed down the date that this class was created somewhere between 2007 and 2014. Just a few of the signs that it’s beyond dated include:
- My son recently got a question wrong on the test because he didn’t choose something called “Symbian” as the most common smartphone OS. I looked it up, that OS launched in 1998 and was discontinued around 2014.
- It continually references Windows 7 as though it’s the latest OS.
- It mentions the popularity of FireWire (which I forgot even existed until now, as it was discontinued years ago).
- FireWire is the only correct answer for “Which of the following ports offers a fast connection that could be used to download and watch your favorite TV shows?” Ethernet is wrong.
- Microphones are NOT counted as popular input devices. Nor are webcams.
- USB 2.0 is the newest type of USB port
If this were, say, an ancient history or even a literature class, being outdated wouldn’t be such a monumental problem. However, with computer-related classes, it’s not only a minor annoyance but also detrimental to our kids’ education. My son spent the entire semester learning the wrong answers to technology-related questions.
Ironically, one of the slides included this little gem about how information that is five years old is not reliable if you’re looking for info related to computers:
Major projects assigned on the day they’re due & other roadblocks to success
Since the platform is designed with roadblocks set up to keep kids from doing assignments out of order, students only find out about a major project on the day that it’s due. If they don’t have an extra 2+ hours to devote to that class (on top of the 1.5 that they’re already spending on it), they can’t move ahead. Each day extra that it takes gets them roughly 1-3 hours behind.
Also, if a test isn’t unlocked by a teacher on time, kids get behind. If there’s an issue with the software (see “glitchy software below) and they can’t complete a class on a particular day, they get behind. Worse, the school’s response to this seems to be “just work on weekends.” When a glitch pushed my son a whopping week behind in one class, administrators suggested that he use his break to catch up.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty ticked if my boss told me that I had to put in 36 extra hours of work a week to get caught up on something that I was behind on because another co-worker didn’t do their job.
Let me be clear: I am NOT blaming his teachers for this. Most- if not all-of his current teachers are actually “brick and mortar school” teachers trying to keep up with dozens of in-person students in an increasingly confusing and bizarro hybrid structure.
Writing assignments graded by an algorithm must be stuffed with keywords to pass
The vast majority of the short writing assignments are graded not by a teacher but by an algorithm that searches for keywords. My son wrote 5 paragraphs once that fully answered the question posed, but he didn’t use one specific keyword and got a ZERO. See, these assignments are “all or nothing.” Miss one word that the algorithm searches for and you fail, period.
So, he started experimenting. Rather than writing complete sentences, he just started cramming as many words related to the topic as he could think of into the text box. For example, if the question was something like “what makes plants green,” rather than writing about the actual biological process, he’d just cram words like “Sun sunshine oxygen chlorophyll chloroplasts stamen stem bud flower. Photosynthesis organelles blah blah blah.”
He got 100% on those and his teachers never brought it up. So, he figures, why bother wasting time writing long and accurate responses? I mean, he’s already so overwhelmed with work anyway. Might as well save a few minutes, right? I let him do it because, well, he’s right. WHY waste the time when no one is even looking at these and accurate responses aren’t graded any higher than a stream-of-consciousness response that includes all of the right words?
Designed in a way that reflects only one learning style at the complete detriment of others
My biggest gripe about Edgenuity isn’t the outdated lessons or the crappy algorithms. It’s the fact that the system is designed for exactly ONE type of learner: kids who absorb information by watching the most boring videos imaginable. I’m talking LOOOOOOOONG unskippable videos that make ME want to pull my hair out (and I only watched a few to get an idea of what he deals with).
It’s rare to find a class that doesn’t rely entirely on these boring videos. His IT class is the only one that he’s taken so far that uses slides instead of videos. He finished the class two weeks ahead of schedule, with a B+ (he lost points on some CSS project, but was never told what he did wrong, so there’s that, too).
When my son did REACH, each and every lesson had multiple ways to learn. Kids could read through the slides, play interactive games, answer questions on an interactive worksheet, watch a video and even listen to audio. While not every lesson offered all of those, most had at least three different ways to absorb the information. Plus, if your kid already knew the material, they could skip through the slides to the Quick Check at the end and move on. Jake was consistently ahead at REACH. Now he’s consistently behind.
It’s not even so much that the videos are boring (seriously, though, even the teachers giving the lecture look and sound bored out of their gourds). It’s that they’re 100% mandatory and unskippable. You MUST watch every last second of every last video. No exceptions.
So, say your child had the flu for a few days and couldn’t even get out of bed to do schoolwork. In regular school, their teachers would give them their missed assignments and guidance on how to get caught up (if they needed it). I’ve never in all my life had a teacher say, “Well, since you missed three days of lessons, you need to sit down and listen to every single word that I said during those lectures. You MAY NOT move forward until you do so, so get comfortable, we’ll be here for a while.”
On Edgenuity, if your kid is sick and misses three days, they not only have to watch all of those videos before they can move ahead, but they now have exactly one day to do ALL THREE DAYS worth of work in EVERY class PLUS all of today’s work. Otherwise, they get this dreaded red “you’re behind” bar:
Final Words on Edgenuity
I haven’t even touched on the software glitches that put kids even farther behind, the lack of tech support, or any of the myriad of issues with the platform’s software itself. Oh, and even if your kids get behind for reasons that are entirely Edgenuity’s fault, they won’t get extra time to get caught up. Don’t worry, though; they can always work on weekends, at night, and during spring break! If they do just 75 extra assignments a day, they’ll be caught up in no time! (That’s barely sarcasm, as it seems to be my son’s school’s go-to response when he’s behind: just do extra assignments on weekends).
If you want to find out what our kids really think of Edgenuity, I highly encourage you to check out the video below by Coletainment. These kids did a STELLAR job of showing you what it would look like if it was a real teacher in an actual classroom. They’re not exaggerating.
I also encourage you to search Reddit and YouTube for Edgenuity reviews and complaints by other kids, or read any of these other Edgenuity reviews and news stories:
Very long story short, Edgenuity is by far the worst learning platform I’ve ever experienced. Between my son and I, we’ve used REACH, Blackboard, and Google Classroom. No platform is 100% perfect all of the time, but Edgenuity is the only one that has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever in my opinion (and in the opinion of every parent & student that I’ve talked to).
Maybe there are kids out there who like it. Not just tolerate it, but actually like it. I haven’t met any, but I’m sure they exist. Before you commit to sending your kids to a school that uses Edgenuity, though, demand to see the platform in action (unlike REACH, Edgenuity doesn’t really have a “for parents” section on their website, so you’ll have to ask your school for a demo). I wish I had done that instead of taking the school’s word for it that it would be “much different” than last year’s mess.