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What you need to know for 01/22/2018

Kids need extra courses, tests to earn Regents Diploma

Kids need extra courses, tests to earn Regents Diploma

Answers to questions about education.

Q: My son is interested in getting an advanced Regents Diploma. What are the requirements for that as opposed to a Regents Diploma?

A: A Regents Diploma requires four credits of English, four credits of social studies, three credits of math, three credits of science (at least one life and one physical), one credit of art, half credit of health, one credit of a language other than English, two credits of physical education, and three and a half credits of elective classes. A Regents Diploma also requires five regents exams be passed with a 65 or higher (English, global studies, U.S. history, math, science). There are some exceptions to these testing requirements when a student is identified by the Committee on Special Education.

For the Advanced Regents Diploma, all of the above requirements must be met, plus either three credits of a language other than English, or a five credit sequence in the arts. The five Regents exams above must be passed with a 65 or higher, plus two additional math, one additional science, and the language other than English/checkpoint B exam, unless the arts sequence is used instead.

A student must have 22 total credits for graduation.

This information is all available on the state Department of Education website at Your counselor is the best resource when figuring out which track is best for your son as well as how to navigate the available classes at your particular school that fit the requirements.

Q: My daughter failed several classes in middle school because she was not motivated to do assignments. She was promoted into grade nine in the high school. What will happen if she fails classes in ninth grade too?

A: Many middle schools “socially promote” students as research shows that retention does not necessarily produce positive results. Retaining students has also been shown to increase the chances of students ultimately dropping out of high school. More information on social promotion and retention can be found in a publication from the National Association of School Psychologists:

Ninth grade is certainly where the “rubber meets the road” as far as moving forward into 10th grade. High school students pass or progress to the next grade by earning credits for the courses they have taken. (A ninth grade student who has earned 5.5 credits is now a 10th grader). In order to graduate, a student needs 22 credits or at least 5.5 credits each year. Different high schools have varying policies regarding minimum credits required per year, so your daughter’s school may require her to take more than 5.5 credits per year.

If your daughter fails classes in high school and summer school is an option at her school or an area school, she should take the courses she has failed. Likely she can only enroll in two courses during summer school.

Some high school courses are required all four years. If she fails English 10, for example, she would have to “double up” by taking both English 10 and 11 in her junior year. In order to avoid doubling, she must pass during the school year or pass during summer school. She’ll have to discuss her schedule for next year with her school counselor to determine which classes are best to take to maximize the chances of an on time graduation.

On the bright side, I have found that students who have not worked to their potential in middle school often step up to the challenge of high school and do better.

Anne-Marie Hughes is a local middle and high school guidance counselor. Her column appears the first Sunday of every month in The Sunday Gazette during the school year. Send questions to Ask The Counselor to

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