New York public school students are still allowed to graduate with lower test scores this school year thanks to a recent decision by state education boards.
The Board of Regents on Tuesday approved an amendment extending a pandemic-era emergency policy that allowed children to appeal poor Regents scores to get their diplomas.
“This sends the wrong message to students and families entering one of the most important school years in recent history,” said Dia Bryant, executive director of Education Trust New York, a statewide policy and advocacy group.
According to an EdTrust representative who led the campaign, more than 400 letters and a petition with 70 signatories were sent to the state opposing the measure.
“The change continues a worrying trend by the Board of Regents to water down graduation standards and raises serious concerns about whether our education system is preparing students for their post-secondary future,” Bryant added.
The nonprofit called on the state to use COVID relief to better support students at risk of not graduating — “rather than making it easier to graduate.”
The state Department of Education has dismissed criticism that revising graduation requirements – including allowing children with poor Regents scores of at least 50 – involves a “lowering of standards”.
Concurrent with the vote, the state formed a 64-member commission, which includes Bryant, to consider updating permanent closing protocols.
The group was formed to “examine what a state diploma should mean to ensure educational excellence and equity for every student in New York State,” according to officials.
“Our review of the state’s graduation policies is about ensuring that all students are given an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a manner that best suits them,” Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. said in a statement.
“This work isn’t about lowering standards, it’s about making sure standards work for all of our state’s students,” he added.
Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa called the step “a significant milestone” to assess readiness for high school.
The commission, which will meet from this autumn and will meet “regularly” until spring 2024, wants to make recommendations to the Board of Regents on indicators that show children are ready for “college, careers and civil life”.
The department has made several changes to the rules surrounding the Regents exams since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the standardized tests for the first time in 2020 have been scrapped altogether from their Regents-based course until the end of the summer.
Proponents looking to revise graduation requirements are finding that New York is an outlier when it comes to requiring final exams at all. About a dozen states are conducting high school graduation tests, education news source Chalkbeat reported.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Education has expressed its belief that the tests can be used as “one of several measures of student performance,” officials said.
New York City School Chancellor David Banks has called the exams “important” but said they play an “outsized role” in public education at the expense of other learning and preparing for adult life, which are becoming harder are testing.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/14/ny-students-allowed-to-graduate-with-lower-test-scores/ NY students are allowed to graduate with lower test scores