Higher Standards On NYS Regents


Higher Standards On NYS Regents Essay, Research Paper

In the past few years, the New York State Board of

Regents has upped the standards in all areas of academic

study. While some of the standards are good for top

notch students, other students who struggle, get the

bitter end of the stick. This means that not all

students are regents material, and may have a hard

enough time trying just to pass. I am against the

highering of the standards. Not all students are


?In New York, the states? Regents have raised the

bar without taking the necessary steps to help students

reach it (Diane Ravitch).?

The regents approved new standards in every

subject, but some were so vague that the State Education

Department had to issue a guide to explain them.

Teachers can no longer prepare students, due to the

redesigned Regents exams. Even the teachers don?t

know what to expect. Unless changes come about soon,

some high schools will see very few graduates (Diane


?Only about twenty percent of all regents

examinations are passed. In some city high schools,

less than five percent of the graduates earn a regents

diploma (Diane Ravitch).?

Very few teachers have any experience of training

that enable them to teach the Regents level courses. In

social studies, the coverage in every area is so

extensive that neither teachers nor students know how to

prepare for the Regents examination. No one

can expect high school students to learn what the state

now requires, nor expect even teachers to master the

curriculum (Diane Ravitch).

For students to pass all the Regents exams, they

need well qualified teachers in every grade. To know

how to prepare their students, teachers need clear

standards and a core curriculum. yet, the state has

provided neither. If this mess is not straightened out

soon, large numbers of students are likely to pay the

price. The movement to improve academic performance by

raising the standards will suffer a terrible setback

(Diane Ravitch).

The raising of the new standards acknowledges the

fact that students are preparing to live and compete in

a complex and demanding world. The public wants higher

standards. If we aim higher, we are likely to go

farther. The National Publication Education Week gave

New York the highest grade of any state. Schools must

be able to offer students with special needs, specific

accommodations in the short-term to enable them to meet

higher standards also (Antonia Cortese).

An April 1999 survey for the Education Conference,

found that, ?Three-fourths of New York voters claim to

be familiar with the states? efforts to set higher

standards. ?Eighty-nine percent of voters support to

raise standards, and seventy-five percent will support

the standards (Antonia Cortese).?

All students need enough time to acquire the

necessary knowledge and skills to ensure their success

on new state exams (Antonia Cortese).

?There is not enough time in the school day, year,

or the entire twelve years students spend in school to

learn everything that someone, somewhere believes

students ought to know even if all we taught were books

of lists (William Elwell).?

Once a part has been seen on a test, the teacher

will teach that the following year. But, then the

Regents will have decided that this bit of information

is no longer a reflection of what the teacher should

have taught or how well the student has learned (William


Some statistical results released by the Education

Department earlier this year showed that ninety-two

percent of the states one hundred twenty-four thousand,

two hundred sixty seniors in the ninety-nine through two

thousand academic year had already achieved a fifty-five

passing grade on the English Regents (Anny Kuo).

According to Princeton Review Regents exam expert,

Elizabeth Sila, ?some schools will allow students to

pass the exam with a fifty-five. Eventually, however,

all students will have to pass the exams with a

sixty-five,? she added (Elizabeth Williams).

?I think the Regents exam is misguided and provides

a disservice to the educational system at large,? said

Wayland-Cohocton School English teacher, John Molyneux

(Anny Kuo).

?The old exam was too mechanical , the new test is

easier than the old one,? said Bridget Andrews, a

Dansville student (Anny Kuo).

The Regents board hires teachers along with private

businesses like the Educational Testing Service to help

compile standards for test questions. Regents exams are

going to get more difficult, meaning harder test. The

board also hires people to write questions. After the

questions are created, the board has to review them to

make sure that they do meet the standards (Anny Kuo).

Early in the twentieth century, mathematician,

teacher, and philosopher Alfred North Whithead,

maintained that humans are simply not mentally equipped

to handle deal of random, inert knowledge.? Committees

are at work embedding and reinforcing the standards,

because the consequences of their actions will take so

long to manifest themselves, the casual link between

what they are doing and its ultimately calamitous

consequences may not become apparent in time to do

anything about it (Marion Brady).

?Need to study in great depth a relatively few

really powerful ideas, ideas that encompass and explain

major aspects of human experience (Marion Brady).?

Incredibly, New York?s State Education Department

hasn?t paid attention to such warnings. It?s using

scores on Regents exams to make high-stake decisions.

Any student who fails a single exam —— even one with

an otherwise successful high school record —— will

not receive a high school diploma (Ann Cook).

Experts across the country criticized such a policy

and argued that it places far too much importance on

test-taking; there is shockingly little evidence that

high-stakes tests actually produce significant gains in

academic achievement (Ann Cook).

Schools will be graded in three categories,

according to student performance on standardized test

—— ?meeting standards,? ?below standards? and

?farthest from standards,? stated Roger Bowen. Students

enrolled in schools that are ?farthest from standards, ?

or below standards? will wear a scarlet letter in the

eyes of college admissions offices (Roger Bowen).

School rankings mask the individual students?

potential, let alone communicate such scholastic

qualities as curiosity, work ethic and desire for higher

education. The regents, in their quest for

accountability and tougher standards, have created a

rankings system that is destined to punish potentially

outstanding college students who had the misfortune of

attending low-ranked high schools (Roger Bowen).

For these reasons and others, I believe that the

raising of the standards should not be done. Not all

students are equipped enough to contest with these

standards. Raising of the standards would make it very

unfair to students across New York State. There should

be a choice for students, because not all students are

equally equipped with the standard academic



Bowen, Roger W. ?School Ranking May Hurt Good

Students.? www.newsday.com. 11/16/2000.

Brady, Marion. ?The Standards Juggernaut.? PhiDelta

Kappan. May 1, 2000.

C.F. ?Poll: Make the Regents Universal.? Long Island

Business News. Nov. 20, 1995. Issue 47. P.12.

Cook, Ann. ?Exams Keep Standards Too Low.?

www.newsday.com. 11/16/2000.

Cortese, Antonia. ?Why NYSUT Supports Higher

Standards.? www.nysut.org/research/bulletin.

Kuo, Anny. ?Schools Try To Assist Seniors Who Haven?t

Yet Passed English Regents.? The Leader.


Ravitch, Diane. ?Higher, but Hollow, Academic

Standards.? The New York Times. Feb. 6, 1999.

Williams, Elizabeth E. ?Regents Exams: Annual Rite Of

Passage For High School Students.? The Hornell

Evening Tribune. 6/02/2000.

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