New York State Regents: Necessary or Ineffective Way of Evaluating Student Performance?
I think it is appropriate that my first blog for EdLab should be about the New York State Regents since I just finished taking them a few weeks ago. Personally I had no trouble with the exams but I am writing this on the behalf of millions of New York State students who are forced to take it every year. I recently read this article that noted that the state was considering eliminating some regents in order to save money due to budget restrictions.
With this in mind, I ask whether the Regents are necessary or is it a bad system or way of testing students. New York is one of a few states in America where high school students are required to take some sort of mandatory standardized exam in order to graduate.
The Regents undoubtedly has its flaws. For instance, it is ridiculously scaled (unless you score above 90). The passing grade for the Regents is 65 and with the scaling system, if a student gets 40% of the entire exam right, he/she is considered to show knowledge in the subject and is thus have passed the exam. Even with this, New York still has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country.
From personal encounters and conversations with other students, the Regents are difficult and some feel like they have an outside shot of receiving a descent grade.
As a result, some students study only to receive a 65 and fulfill their graduation requirements. When students have this type of mindset, it's safe to say that they do not properly study for the exam so they take the exam with little knowledge and end up having to repeat the course and the process again. I say all of this because many of my contemporaries talk about taking the exam just to receive the magical 65.
The Regents is often overlooked by colleges so for those students that do receive high grades, most colleges simply ignore it and look at scores on other standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.
With all of this, I think the state board should go ahead and dismantle the Regents program since it fails to reach its desired objectives.