Hearings on High-Stakes Regents Exam Set
Assemblyman Steven Sanders
Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, I will be chairing
a set of public hearings on the subject of New York’s high-stakes
Regents exams. The first hearing will be held on Wednesday
October 15th, 2003 at 9:00 am, in the Assembly hearing Room,
250 Broadway, 19th floor. Other hearings are planned for later
in October in Rochester and in Albany. The Albany hearing will
be a joint hearing with the State Senate Education Committee.
its inception, I have questioned the Board of Regents’ policy
of using standardized testing—which has important value as
a diagnostic and measuring tool—as the sole criteria for high
school students to be able to earn a diploma, regardless of
a student’s entire academic record. A high-stakes testing frenzy,
not just in New York but also across the country, is predicated
on the confusing of meaningful standards with Do Or Die testing.
High standards and high-stakes tests are not the same; nor
are they intrinsically linked.
Regents’ policy currently requires high school students to
receive a passing grade on five Regents exams. Students who
entered the 9th grade in 2000 are required to get a passing
score of 55 on two of the Regents exams and a 65 on the three
other Regents exams. Students who entered 9th grade on or after
September 2001 will be required to obtain a 65 passing grade
on each of the five exams in order to get a diploma, regardless
of the entirety of their academic record.
associated with recent Regents exams have raised concerns about
the policy of high-stakes exams and have led to a broader discussion
about the impacts of this policy. Furthermore, concerns about
the content of the tests and their alignment to curriculum
and to the Regents Learning Standards have been expressed.
have serious concerns about the causal relationship between
this policy and our escalating dropout rate. Some schools have
actually been encouraging students to drop out, pushing students
out by promoting their enrollment in GED programs. In so doing,
these schools manipulate their statistics by getting students
who are unlikely to pass five Regents exams off of their enrollment
lists, and securing the additional statistical benefit of those
students not being counted as dropouts. This shuffling of students
is unacceptable, and a better tracking system of students is
has also been criticism about censorship, with famous literary
passages on the English language Regents having been altered,
calling into question the legitimacy of that exam.
public hearings will present a unique opportunity for parents,
educators and concerned members of the public to voice their
opinions on the Regents’ policy.
wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at
the October 15th hearing should contact my office for a hearing
notice and response form. The telephone number is 212-312-1464,
and our e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.#
Steven Sanders is Chairman of the Education Committee.
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 1588, New York, NY 10159.
Tel: (212) 477-5600. Fax: (212) 477-5893. Email: email@example.com.
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