Rethinking the Regents Exams in New York

Date Posted: 
Friday, August 2, 2019
Taking "the Regents," one of the oldest academic exam systems in the country, has been a rite of passage for high school students in New York for generations.  
That may soon change as the state Board of Regents considers scrapping the high school Regents exam requirement as part of an effort to improve the state's graduation rates and better define the significance of a New York high school diploma. This fall, a commission convened by state Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa will meet to examine - among other questions - "to what degree requiring passage of Regents exams improves student achievement, graduation rates and college readiness," Rosa announced at the Board of Regents' July meeting.
Rethinking the tests builds on the Board of Regents recent effort to create more avenues for students to graduate aside from take the exams.
While graduation rates have inched up in recent years, gaps in achievement persist for students of color, students with disabilities, English language learners, and low-income students, Rosa noted. "Simply put, the system is not working for everyone, and too many students - particularly our most vulnerable students - are leaving high school without a diploma," she wrote in a February column for an online site accessible to New York State School Boards Association. 
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