Is 2020 the year NY high school students get a free pass on regents?


Narek75, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Pia Sharma

With everything in recent events, which in my opinion doesn’t need any further reiteration, students are left feeling a little lost and confused with what the end of the year will look like for them, as is everyone else in the world. 

 Standardized testing is not something that is popular among many people in New York state, which ironic because there is so much of it during the last months of the school year. You would think if most teachers dislike the regents exams they would have been omitted as criteria for high school graduation in the state. According to Arthur Goldstein, a New York state English teacher, he knows “students who cannot write a coherent sentence who’ve passed the English Regents exam with grades in the high 80s.” It is not unheard of that students hate testing and that many teachers claim it serves no educational growth purposes nor is it an accurate representation of a student’s abilities. In fact, 70% of more than 1500 teachers teaching subjects under NCLB grades 3-8 and 10-12 claim that standardized testing is not “developmentally appropriate for their students.”. Though this is a whole separate topic, it is no secret that test-taking is it’s own skill entirely and doesn’t always accurately represent the intellect or academic ability of a student.

Whether students hate them or teachers disprove of their functionality, end-of-year test season is approaching and, for once, Donald Trump might be on our side on this matter. Yes, this is an ambitious statement but here’s why he has the best interest of the student in mind: “With many schools closed due to the virus, the Department of Education will not enforce standardized testing requirements, very importantly, for students in elementary through high school for the current year.” Whether Trump was actually concerned for the children and their transcript or if someone had advised him to make the responsible decision to enforce standardized testing is beyond me; however ,at least he was able to rescue the possibility of our failing testing grades if they were to be administered as per usual. 

Although this virus has been devastating, it’s been a reassurance for students to hear that there aren’t any tests to worry about. New York students haven’t really been informed whether the regents are included within the cancellation of the 2020 standardized testing but it can be assumed that the regents are implied in Trump’s statement. 

While students might not have to take regents this year, does this mean that they are forever excused from taking the exam for that course? New York students will receive credits from the courses they’re currently taking but will they recieve an automatic pass on the regents? Will there even be grades entered on our transcripts? There are many questions that students have about the tests but there hasn’t been much information given by schools or the state mostly because nothing has been planned or set in stone just yet. There’s no way of knowing what will become of the pandemic by May or June. Although College Board released statements and information about the AP exams and SATs and how they will be modified accordingly, nothing has been said about regents so far.

Though it is most likely that they will be cancelled, students should either automatically pass the regents that they were originally planning on taking or their regent grade that appears on their transcripts should reflect that of their overall course grade. If tests are generally statistically inaccurate representations of student performance and comprehension anyways, wouldn’t it be sensible and accurate to have their academic grades substituted so that missing regent grades do not hinder a student’s transcript?