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Keeping you Informed
In a presentation to the Board of Regents, Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia proposed that the State should expand its academic pathways to high school graduation. She stated that the move is an attempt to benefit students whose strengths and interests are not in line with the traditional Regents exam-based diploma route. In her proposal, Commissioner Elia suggested three plans for increasing the current options for successfully completing graduation requirements. This comes as a reaction to the recent report that, statewide, graduation rates for the most recent academic year are at 78% (the State has set a benchmark goal of 80%).
Though gains have been made in recent years, the Commissioner noted that there are still a number of groups -- such as students with disabilities, English language learners, minority students, and students from low-income families -- whose graduation rates continue to fall behind other groups. For example, for students with disabilities, graduation rates are about 50%.
THREE SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING GRADUATION RATES
1. Allow more students to appeal borderline scores on Regents exams: As of now, students can appeal a Regents exam score if it is within three points of passing. The Board is considering increasing the range (60 to 64). In order for student to appeal, however, they would still need to meet certain requirements such as passing the course, having a 95% attendance rate, having a recommendation from a teacher or department head, and showing evidence of using academic help (such as AIS).
2. View employable skills as part of a graduation credential: Another pathway being considered is through Career Development and Occupational Studies, or CDOS. Right now, students must pass four Regents exams PLUS an additional Regents or alternative approved exam focused on career and technical education (CTE), the arts, or a language other than English (LOTE). The Board of Regents is considering adding CDOS to the list of the options. In order to ensure rigor, Regents would require the CDOS pathway to include 216 hours of additional coursework, work-based learning, and demonstration of competency in CDOS learning standards.
3. Create a project-based alternative to passing a Regents exam: In what might be considered their most progressive suggestion, the Board of Regents would introduce a new project-based assessment option for students who have passed a course (and also met attendance requirements) but have failed the related Regents exam. The idea is to help students who struggle with standardized tests show their skill and knowledge of the subject matter in a different fashion.
Commissioner Elia has urged the Board of Regents to consider these options, saying that the State should provide new ways for students to show their qualification for a diploma while maintaining academic rigor. We will keep you posted as to when, and how, the changes will take place.
As always, thank you for your continued dedication to the success of our students.
Mark Your Calendars
- 2/10: Board of Education Meeting, 7 PM, HS Aud Lobby
- 2/11: Gemini Registration for Spring Classes, 8:15-10:00 AM
- 2/15 - 2/19: Presidents' Week Recess - No School