The Board of Regents on Monday suspended the state’s high school graduation testing requirements for a second year and outlined plans to shorten statewide math and English tests administered to students in third through eighth grades.
The Regents and state officials have sought to eliminate all state testing this year, but under federal requirements will still have to conduct pared down statewide tests across different grade levels.
State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said state officials will still push for a federal allowance to cancel all statewide tests – though acknowledged they are moving forward with testing plans – while emphasizing no student will be required to attend school in person for the sole purpose of testing.
“While we are disappointed, (the U.S. Department of Education) made the right call on one thing: no students should be made to come into school to take the test,” Rosa said during Monday’s monthly Regents meeting.
While students will no longer be required to pass end-of-course Regents exams to meet diploma requirements, the state will still have to administer four of those exams in order to satisfy federal testing mandates without some new federal action. The state plans to administer the ELA, Algebra 1, Earth Science and Living Environment Regents exams in June, but students won’t be required to take them and they won’t count for graduation purposes. All August Regents exams will be cancelled.
Instead of passing the exams, students still can meet the diploma requirements by passing the course associated with the required exams. Students can also earn mastery and advanced designations based on the grade they receive in the course – rather than their score on the exam.
State officials promised to release more detailed guidance on the secondary Regents exams and grade 3-8 tests this week, offering only that the grade 3-8 tests in math and English language arts will be conducted as one-day tests – rather than the two-days tests they have been in recent years. The ELA test is slated to start April 19, while the math test is scheduled to start May 3, according to the state’s testing schedule.