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Rhinebeck Reality

The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

Changes to Regents Give Students Hope

Rose Wheeler

It’s 1865. The Civil War just ended.

620,000 Americans are dead.

Abraham Lincoln is assassinated in April.

And students sit for the first Regents Exams in June.

For almost 160 years, for students across New York State, the end of the year has meant that all focus turns to the Regents Exams.

In addition to worrying about tests and quizzes throughout the school year, students struggle to prepare for Regents exams in June along with final exams for their classes. It’s hard for anyone to do well on a high stakes test while sitting in a boiling hot gym trying to recall things from the beginning of the year.

Recently, the Commissioner of Education, Betty Rosa, for New York State formed a committee to reexamine Regents exams and graduation requirements. After finishing their study, they presented it to the Board of Regents, who basically run the New York public school system with the New York governor.

The committee recommended that there should be other measures of student achievement.

No one knows when they will make a decision or release more information about the changes to the Regents. Principal Davenport said that if Regents exams became less important it would have a positive impact on the school.

“My guess is that we will always have Regents examinations, but there may be additional ways that students can demonstrate their knowledge,” said Davenport.

In 2020, NY state canceled the Regents exams because of the pandemic. The following year, the only Regents exams scheduled were the ones you needed to graduate.

The exam is becoming less and less important even without the board of Regents, thanks to the RHS administration. The exams used to count for 20 percent of your overall average then they counted for 10 percent, and finally they decreased to counting for 0 percent.

Picture this: you never show up for class, and have a 50 average in Earth Science. Then, you get a 100 on the Regents because you are a really good test taker. If the Regents are worth 20%, you could still pass the class.

On the other hand, some students think that their hard work studying for the test deserves credit.

“I’d rather have it count towards my grade because if I’m gonna study and work hard I would want it to count for something,” said Gwen Damf, ninth grade class president.

If Regents exams were less important, teachers would have much more freedom in their classrooms to spend time on a subject without having to worry about cramming in time to review for the Regents at the end of the school year.

“If the Earth Science Regents exam was not as important, the class would definitely be more hands-on, discovery-based, and more outdoors as much as possible!” said Mr. Rocco.

Also, if there wasn’t a Regents exam there could be other ways to achieve a diploma at the end of the year. In other words, everything wouldn’t be tailored to students who are good at taking tests. Not all students learn by taking notes and cramming for a test. If standardized tests became less important in school, students could prove what they learned by creating a project in the new Innovation Hub or showing their skills in a portfolio.

Stay tuned, for soon the Regents exams may look very different.

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  • K

    Kathy ServedioMay 16, 2024 at 6:30 pm

    I have a Regents Diploma’71. It really didn’t matter inthe long run.It is an accomplishment to know you an pass,but that’s it. I feel it lets the administration know who is teaching pretty good too. Although, no other state cares about these tests. Also,Spec.Ed. Children shouldn’t be tortured with these Regents at all!