EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — The Regents exams, believed to be crucial for students to get into college in New York State, could soon be on the way out. A commission put together by the education department will be reviewing the exams in the fall.
The potential overhaul was brought up at the Collaborative Educators Summit Tuesday at Pine Grove Middle School.
For centuries, the requirement has been for students to earn 22 credits and pass four Regents exams in order to get a diploma.
“I think it’s time to really challenge ourselves in New York State and really look at, are their other ways to really demonstrate one’s knowledge and abilities,” said Dr. Donna DeSiato, Superintendent of the East Syracuse Minoa Central School District.
The tests have been around since the 1800s, and while there have been changes to them since then, school is a lot different now, and DeSiato said schools need to start thinking about a more practical approach to learning.
“While we’ll always have some element, perhaps, of a test or an assessment that may be a written or a computer-based assessment, it shouldn’t be the only way we measure student learning,” Dr. DeSiato said.
It’s a question the commission is looking to answer this fall. They’re studying what students need to know before graduating, finding the best way to test that knowledge, to show they’re ready to earn their diplomas,
“One of the things we have to be very cognizant about is, what are we actually preparing our students to be able to do, do well, and be successful at,” said Mary Ellen Elia, the Commissioner of Education.
While Elia knows testing can be a good way to measure improvement, she also knows graduation rates can depend on things like race, poverty, and special needs.
“We can’t have certain students in certain zip codes and school districts have available things to them that are not available to others,” Elia said.
The commission will come together in September. It’ll be a group of parents, students, educators, researchers, and community leaders. The results should be presented in the fall of 2020.