State cancels Regents exams amid outbreak

New York state’s Regents exams, a June tradition and usually a requirement for high school graduation, have been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If seniors are passing their Regents courses, they will be able to achieve their diplomas without the exams this year. And as long as students enrolled in grades 7 to 11 are passing the Regents courses they are taking, they’ll get their credits. Students who fail to earn credit by the end of the school year would return for summer instruction to make up the failed course and earn the credit, and would be granted diploma credit in August.

Keene Central School Superintendent Dan Mayberry said he thinks this is the best option for students, who have been shifted to emergency remote learning in the past few weeks.

“Educationally, this is probably in the best interest of the student,” Mayberry said.

Lake Placid Central School District Superintendent Roger Catania agreed, saying this means “no student will be harmed or miss out” because of the virus’ impact on education.

Mayberry was asked if there is a concern that students are not getting the full education as they would have in a normal year.

“That’s always a concern when kids are not in school,” Mayberry said. “It’s not ideal. This isn’t working like a normal classroom setting would.”

Catania said the district’s goal is still to give students the best education they can from home and keep them moving forward at this time. He said many other end-of-year requirements are being altered, too.

Advanced Placement exams have been moved online and shortened from three hours to 45 minutes, with multiple choice questions eliminated and an emphasis on essay questions. SAT and ACT college preparation exams are on hold, too, with March and May exams canceled.

The Annual Professional Performance Review, which is used to gauge the performance of teachers and principals, is still up in the air.

Mayberry said he usually uses average Regents scores to rate teachers and principals, but this data will be not applicable this year.

Catania said the APPR issue will be addressed, just not yet. It may be waived, or each district may make its own decision.

The state Education Department has also called off this year’s state math and English tests for grades 3 to 8.

Groups that represent teachers and school board members praised the Education Department’s decision to call off the Regents exams.

“This is the right decision that will allow our students and their families to first and foremost focus on being safe and healthy without having to stress about preparing for traditional end-of-year exams this June,” New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta wrote in a press release.

“Students across New York state can breathe a collective sigh of relief,” Robert Schneider, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, wrote in a press release. “No student should be denied course credit or a high school diploma or otherwise penalized due to these extraordinary circumstances.”


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