ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The New York State Department of Education is canceling next month’s U.S. History and Government Regents Exam.

Following the mass shooting in Buffalo where 10 people were killed, the Department of Education says it has been looking into ways to support students and schools across the state. This included a review of the content of this year’s exams, which have already been printed and packaged.

“During that review, our experts determined that there is content on the new Regents Examination in United
States History and Government (Framework) that has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo,” Department of Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said.

Rosa says the exam was developed more than two years and field tested, but “the tragedy in Buffalo has created an unexpected and unintended context for the planned assessment.”

Students were originally scheduled to take this exam on June 1, earlier than other Regents exams. Being that the date is so close, Rosa says it won’t be possible to produce a new test with different content or modifications.

Instead, the Department of Education will ask the Board of Regents to approve a graduation exemption for students who were scheduled to take the exam in June and August of this year, as well as January 2023.

But the ‘why’ here, or whatever questions might have been tough for students, is not known. 

“It’s hard for me to say without actually seeing the questions. So my assumption was, whatever the questions was– would impact kids throughout the state and trigger them and cause additional harm to kids,” says Dr. Shawn VanScoy with the Gananda Central School District.

He adds, “This is the first year of the test, the curriculum had been re-examined, so this is a new test that no one has seen before, I think staff will be a little disappointed that they’ve changed the way they’ve done things this year in preparation for the exam, so there will be a little bit of a let down for them, but generally speaking, people are pretty happy when you don’t have to take an exam.”

Rosa’s letter detailing the cancellation can be found here.