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This proposal would make it easier for New York students to take the Regents exams

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This proposal would make it easier for New York students to take the Regents exams

Update: The Council of Regents approved the proposal on Tuesday, May 17th.

After the third academic year ruined by the pandemic, New York State officials want to make it easier for students to appeal failed scores on Regents ’exams starting this spring and ending next academic year.

Students must now receive 65 or higher to pass the Regents exams required to obtain a high school diploma. But students can appeal 50-64 points if they take the appropriate course according to a proposal that will be submitted to the State Council on Tuesday. If approved, the changes will take effect immediately, which is likely to allow more students to meet the requirements before graduation.

The changes are intended to soften the blow COVID has dealt to schools across the state this year, and will be the third year in a row that officials are changing the rules of final exams at a high school in New York City. The pandemic “continued to have an adverse effect on students and schools,” and the instructions “differed significantly across the state,” government officials wrote in a note on the proposed changes.

New York approaching the level of “high readiness”. for COVID with increasing hospitalizations, and perhaps schools may observe another serious failure in visiting students and staff. During the surge of the Omicron option after the winter holidays, cases have risen sharply among New York City students and staff, disrupting schooling and leaving children at home without instruction.

Although attendance improved after that surge, chronic absenteeism in New York can reach the worst levels at least since 2000, when attendance has not improved.

The temporary changes proposed on Monday make it much easier for students to appeal against failed scores. This can ultimately help to once again increase the level of output in the state, which before the pandemic is growing but continued to increase as Regents have been waived or disqualified from release requirements.

Currently, students can appeal unsuccessful scores of 60-64, with some exceptions for students learning English as a new language and students with disabilities. But there are many other limitations: students can appeal the scores only if they have not passed the exam at least twice, taken the appropriate course, received additional academic assistance in the subject and are recommended for exemption from a teacher or department. Students can only appeal the results of two of the five Regents exams that are required for graduation. Under the proposal, students must take the appropriate course but must not meet any of these other requirements until the next academic year. However, their parents or guardians may refuse to satisfy the appeal if they want the student to receive additional instructions.

The regency exams have been the subject of long debate in New York, one of dozens of states where the final high school exam is being held. Government officials are rethinking the role of the exam and launch a pilot program looking for new ways to get a degree. In recent years, Regents have made it easier to meet exam requirements approval of more ways to graduate and reduction of points required for appeal.

This will be the third school year when government officials are changing Regents ’exam rules in response to the pandemic. Government officials canceled exams when the first pandemic hit in the 2019-2020 academic year. In the 2020-2021 academic year, students did not need to take exams in order to finish as they are now, and most Regents exams have been canceled. The January exams were canceled this year during the amicron burst.

Regent Roger Tiles, representing Long Island, criticized the department’s decision to continue the exams this year and said they are “curling up like pretzels” to make the exams work instead of reviewing how they are conducted this year.

“Virtually everything on Long Island is disrupted quite dramatically, and I’ve talked to a number of school overseers, and there are a lot of kids who aren’t going to school right now, and I think we need to reconsider how we re-run Regents,” he said. Tyles.

Asked why the state instead removed the exams as graduation requirements, the spokesman pointed to note with proposal, who said exams are important “as one of the many indicators of student achievement in the 2021-2022 academic year”. The tests can help determine whether students are meeting state standards of tuition, the note said, and help government officials identify steps “to promote justice and improve educational opportunities.”

But decades of research show these exams do not better prepare students for life after high school and can, in fact, harm colored students from low-income families.

One Brooklyn high school principal said he expects the state to expand the safety net for students this year as chronic absenteeism increased and COVID continued to disrupt training and many students and staff were forced to isolate themselves at home.

But the director, who wished to be anonymous to speak freely, questioned the decision to make the exams easier than to cancel them.

“The breadth of proven material is so great that every teacher who teaches Regents feels the pressure of content in better times,” the principal said. “This year so many students are coming out so many days that the crunch is getting bigger.”

Although it will be easier to take exams, students will still face pressure to get scores well above 50 because low Regents scores usually appear in student transcripts, the principal said.

“In addition to all the injuries and problems they have gone through over the last two years, I am not sure what the state hopes to achieve if it passes the Regents exams at all,” he added.

Alex Zimmerman contributed.

Rome Amen is a reporter covering New York City schools with a focus on public policy and English language learners. Contact Reema at ramin@chalkbeat.org.

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