NY State considers dumping most “Regents” Exams
They claim they could save $13.7 million.
Closing a budget gap is the wrong reason to dump the Regents. But there are lots of right reasons.
It’s in a memo from, Dr. John B. King, Jr., Senior Deputy Commissioner for P-12 Education. I like that. I mean “P-12.” I haven’t seen that designation before. Anyhow, he’s new. Since September. And to do his part to close the budget gap, he’s proposing doing away with: (you can just read what I wrote, but click here to see the full memo) (it’s probably a doomsday scare tactic, but still…)
- January regents
- August regents
- Component Retesting in math
- Component Retesting in English
- translation into Chinese
- translation into Korean
- translation into Kriól
- translation into Russian
- 8th grade second language proficiency exams
- foreign language regents
- Geometry regents
- algebra 2/trig regents
- US history regents
- global history regents
- physics regents
- chemistry regents
- earth science (or living environment??) regents
- paper grading materials (pushes costs of printing onto the schools)
Well, that doesn’t leave much, does it?
- Algebra Regents
- ELA Regents (newer, slimmer, 3 hour version)
- 1 science regents (living environment most likely, but perhaps earth science?)
They all should go. I would be glad if they did. But the memo is just a threat, a doomsday prediction. So I’m not holding my breath.
- Our New York State testing program, all high stakes, has wrongly been allowed to dominate the lives of students in all grades. It is regrettable that he did not include any of the 3-8 testing program… but he spared anything connected to NCLB
- The Regents suck. Apparently, they didn’t always. But from the first day I taught, 13 years ago, they were all a little iffy. And most have gotten worse. In my subject area, mathematics, they are regularly an embarrassment.
- No one knows why kids take regents, beyond that it is what kids in New York always did. Are they high school exit exams? Do they measure competency in a particular subject area? Do they measure competency with particular course material? Which course? All of these questions got dumb stares or evasive answers from the people at the top. No wonder the kids know that they are being tested, but don’t have a clue why.
- Most high school students are still faced with an inordinately high number of high stakes tests. Many take an AP. Some take multiple APs. Many take multiple SAT IIs. Almost all take PSATs or SATs or both.
Chaz says that we’re losing the gold standard in testing. But New York hasn’t held that distinction in at least a generation. If it ever did. I wonder, was it just a myth?
I find that born-and-bred New Yorkers often swear by the Regents. But they have never experienced life in a non-testing state. They might see things differently if they had.
If we really dump these, I’m looking forward to the following things going away:
- Time wasted on Regents marking.
- Class time lost to Regents testing.
- Class time lost to Regents prep.
- Getting measured by regents pass rates
- Covering inane topics, because they are on the regents.
- Not having time to linger on a topic and consider it in depth (because it is at most one multiple choice question?)
- Not being allowed to delve into an interesting related topic (because it is not on the test)