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January 26, 2015
Blizzard means high schools will grade some of their own students’ exams
Schools will grade their students' global and U.S. history exams, partially suspending a policy put in place to curb score inflation.
January 26, 2015
Schools will be closed Tuesday, and Regents exams moved to later this week
Citing the “historic” snow storm bearing down on New York, state education officials said districts forced to cancel school can reschedule Regents exams — as long as they still administer all the tests by Friday.
January 13, 2015
State eases graduation requirements for new immigrants
Students who arrive in the U.S. during high school and are still learning English could now find it slightly easier to earn a diploma, thanks to a new change to state graduation requirements.
November 11, 2014
As changes come to social studies testing, it’s time to reinvent the teaching
Social studies teacher Stephen Lazar: Making the global history Regents exam optional for many students offers an opportunity to redesign social studies classes to make them more relevant and engaging.
July 11, 2014
No vote on Regents waivers yet
The official decision regarding Regents waivers for a group of New York City high schools has yet to be made, despite a Board of Regents…
June 3, 2014
Common Core rollout reaches Regents exams, but older tests remain
Preparing students to take two different Regents tests in the same subject has challenged some algebra teachers, who say they are unsure about what to expect on the new exams.
January 29, 2014
As crises ebb, educators adjust to new Common Core curriculums
Midway through the first year with new Common Core-aligned teaching materials, some educators say they are fundamentally flawed. Even teachers who praise the materials say they require serious adjustments and threaten to leave many students behind.
December 10, 2013
As testing anxiety peaks, student media campaign urges calm
From left: Columbia University volunteer Andrew Zola; Nichole Urena; Hudson High government teacher Elizabeth Schurman; principal Nancy Amling; Christina Auricchio; Bruce Dixey. Like students across the city, those at the Hudson High School of Learning Technologies can rattle off many reasons to loathe the state Regents exams. Teens at the Chelsea school have had to slog through Saturday test-prep classes, retake tough tests several times, appeal low scores and — in at least one student’s case — retake two of the all-important exit exams this summer on his 17th birthday. But unlike most students, those in Hudson’s 12th-grade government class decided to turn their Regents animus into action by launching an outreach campaign aimed at lowering the temperature around testing.
November 22, 2013
Tisch: Student's test woes show need for more diploma paths
Philip Yeung with his daughter, Tiffany, whose struggle to pass one Regents exam has kept her from earning a diploma. A student stuck without a diploma after 11 unsuccessful attempts to pass a test is the “poster child” for a need to create new ways to graduate, a top state education official said this week. Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch was asked Monday about a recent GothamSchools story on students who have failed to meet the state’s new higher graduation standards, which went into effect last year. She said such students prove the need for diploma options that allow students to substitute an alternative assessment for one of the five required Regents tests. “Should that student be denied a high-school diploma? I don’t think so,” Tisch said about Tiffany, a would-be nurse who has yet to pass her global history and geography Regents exam more than a year after she had hoped to graduate. Tiffany, who still takes Regents-prep classes at Francis Lewis High School in Queens nearly 18 months after her senior year there, asked that her last name be withheld so that potential employers and others would not learn of her graduation struggles. “She’s my poster child for why we need multiple pathways [to graduation],” said Tisch, adding that she would like Tiffany to attend a Regents meeting next month where the board will consider proposals for more routes to a diploma.
November 14, 2013
Tougher diploma rules leave some students in graduation limbo
Philip Yeung with his daughter, Tiffany, who has tried to pass a single Regents exam 10 times since the state raised the minimum pass score. If Jessica Fuentes had better luck with timing, she might be in college now. But because she was a high school senior in 2012, the year the state raised the minimum exam scores required to graduate, she missed the new cutoff score on a few tests, failed to receive a diploma, and withdrew from the college she had planned to attend. Today, after many unsuccessful attempts to pass the tests, she is juggling three jobs while studying for a high school equivalency certificate. “I did four years of high school,” said Fuentes, 20. “What a waste of my time.” Fuentes is one of an untold number of city students ensnared by the state's efforts to raise graduation standards. Those efforts, meant to ensure that high school graduates are prepared for college, have in some cases stranded students in graduation limbo, where because a single test score is a few points too low, they must set aside plans for work and college to take taxpayer-funded test-prep classes.
November 11, 2013
Coalition wants the state to let more schools skip the Regents
A sign inside Urban Academy, a New York Performance Standards Consortium school, details the coalition's past struggles to maintain its Regents-exam waivers. A coalition of small high schools where students complete graduation projects rather than take most Regents exams could soon add several more schools to its ranks – if the state lets those schools skip the tests. The New York Performance Standards Consortium is in talks with the state to get Regents-exam waivers for as many as 22 schools that follow the group’s instructional model and use alternative assessments, but currently must also administer the Regents tests. The schools, which have been part of a multi-year pilot, include several high schools in the Internationals and Expeditionary Learning networks. Many of them have staff members who worked at consortium schools in the past. The consortium currently includes 28 public schools — 26 in New York City and one each in Rochester and Ithaca — where students are exempt from taking all Regents exams except for English. Instead, they must earn class credits and complete intensive projects to graduate. The group and its supporters – which include the city teachers union and more recently the city Department of Education – have lobbied the state to let more schools trade the Regents tests for the long-term projects, citing data showing higher-than-average graduation and college-enrollment rates among consortium schools. “I think it’s a disgrace that these schools have to apply for a waiver to do more work and prepare children better,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, adding that obtaining the state waivers is rarely easy. “We know every time we do it it’s a political battle.”
September 13, 2013
After two companies botch test scoring, city to recoup money
The city canceled a contract with one testing vendor and won't get charged by another after the companies bungled exam scoring in separate incidents earlier this year, the education department announced today. Officials announced this afternoon that they are canceling a $9.7 million contract after the vendor, CTB/McGraw-Hill, botched a new electronic grading process for the city's Regents exams, causing confusion for tens of thousands of students who needed scores to graduate or move onto the next grade. The city will also recoup $2.1 million from Pearson for major errors during its administration of a gifted exam. The news comes less than three months after officials sought to downplay the issues, which included a series of technical glitches that resulted from logistical problems, faulty software and low school bandwidth. Spokeswoman Erin Hughes said the department was still negotiating how much money it would recoup from the contract, which was in its second year of a three-year deal. As a result of the cancellation, she said, the city planned to move back to paper-and-pencil scoring in 2014.
August 12, 2013
Chelsea students to retake lost Regents exams
Among the city students to take the state’s English Regents exams on Tuesday are 75 students at Chelsea Career and Technical High School whose original…
August 8, 2013
New State Math Exam Harder, But Not Due To Rigor
As a high school teacher, I am not well versed in elementary school tests, but I have spent a substantial amount of time scrutinizing New York state math Regents exams, so I thought I’d look at the eighth-grade math questions that were released to the public. I was quite surprised by what I saw.
June 26, 2013
With Regents exam scores coming in, attention turns to appeals
With a 92 average in her classes and two passing scores on Regents exams last year, Jacalyn Swintelsky had reason to be optimistic on her way to pick up her report card at Midwood High School this morning. But when she got there, Swintelsky was stunned to see that she had failed the Global Studies Regents exam. Her score was two points shy of the 65 required for graduation and well below her marks on the three other Regents exams she took this year. "I was really shocked," said Swintelsky. "I expected to pass, that's for sure." The outlier on Swintelsky's report card stood out for another reason: It was the only test she took that was graded using the city's new online scoring system that CTB/McGraw-Hill developed for four frequently taken Regents exams. Serious glitches in the scoring system caused delays in getting grades and introduced concerns that scores might be artificially diminished. Now, students such as Swintelsky and their teachers are crafting plans to appeal lower-than-expected scores.
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