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New York’s Regents exams are back. Students who score low can appeal for graduation

Student taking standardized test
Andy Barbour

New York will reinstate the Regents exams this year despite pleas from lawmakers, parents and students to cancel the tests. The state standardized exams were canceled for past two years due to the pandemic.

The state Board of Regents instead decided to lower the score needed to be eligible for graduation to 50 through an appeals process. High school students need to score above a 65 to pass the Regents exams.

Alan Singer, the director of social studies education programs at Hofstra University, said by lowering the pass requirement, the state is passing students who are not prepared for higher education.

“This is like putting a Band-aid on cancer,” Singer said. “You don't want the seepage, but it's not addressing what happened under COVID.”

The state uses the scores from the Regents exams to help inform decisions on curriculum requirements and measure student success.

Instead of lowering the score requirement, Singer said he would rather see smaller class sizes, better preparation and mental health support for students.

State Senator Alexis Weik, R-Islip, who led the legislative effort to cancel the exams, said the exams were unnecessary stress on students who had already dealt with enough throughout the pandemic.

“This is an unfair move in my opinion,” Weik said. “Since we canceled the January Regents and things have not returned back to a standard school year, I don’t believe that we should be asking to have regular standard procedures or protocols put on our students at this time. ”

Weik cited a recent increase in student absences due to COVID-19 surges as reasoning to cancel the exams.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.