Give Credit for Cancelled Regents Exams!

**UPDATE**: The Regents Exams have been cancelled! Thank you to those who have demanded justice on this issue. However, the fight continues. We need to make sure that all current students are not penalized for the cancellation of the June 2020 Regents Exam. Such graduation requirements should be waived for all students currently enrolled in Regents-terminating classes or they should be given fair opportunities for achieving credit for those requirements in other forms. Read our updated post and petition below. 

New York State is amidst a public health crisis under COVID-19. New York officials have now cancelled the June Regents exams. This step was necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. Now is the time to grant credit for every Regents course that students pass this year. 

Since their inception, the Regents exams have exacerbated inequities along lines of race, class, and immigration status.  These exams are a flawed instrument to assess whether a student is college-ready or high school proficient. Capstone projects, portfolio-based assessments, meeting course outcomes, and teacher recommendations are far better markers of success, intelligence and genuine thought than a three-hour standard exam full of multiple-choice questions.  Students should be granted Regents credit for the Regents courses they pass this year. We should then move to a more holistic form of assessment, like the New York Performance Standards Consortium.

COVID-19 has closed the doors to our schools and cut short the senior years of millions of seniors across New York State.  Along with the loss of prom, senior trips, and countless other memorable events, they have lost the proper in-class instruction to be fully prepared for the high stakes exams needed to graduate from high school in New York. Therefore, simply cancelling the June regents and expecting students to pass them at a later date is not enough.

We believe New York State Board of Regents should grant Regents credit to all students who pass their Regents courses this year. If further evidence of proficiency is needed, superintendents can use letters of support written by one of their teachers in the subsequent content area listing the ways they have proven their proficiency in the subject matter.  Educators are able to better assess the student’s abilities and accomplishments rather than a high stakes exam given during a global pandemic when students and families are focusing on survival and trying to cope with the trauma surrounding them.

Act now by sending a letter to the NYSED and signing/sharing our change.org petition!

The New York State Educational Department (NYSED) is taking public comments on waiving June’s Regents exams.  Comments will be accepted through April 9th. Comments can be submitted via email to NYSEDP12@nysed.gov with “Waiver Comments from (sender/organization name)” in the subject line. 

To see the entire waiver request, go to:

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/

Sample Letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a [parent/teacher/student/community member] at [school name]. The June Regents exams were recently cancelled. This was a great step in protecting public health major under the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in the best of conditions, these exams are already heavily discriminatory toward poor and minority students, and such high-stakes testing will not be a proper assessment of student learning. But now the next step is clear: please grant Regents credit to students who pass their Regents exams this year. Expecting students to make up lost instruction during this pandemic is unfair and unrealistic. Instead, allow teachers to use course grades and letters of support to inform graduation and promotion to the next grade.

Sincerely, 

[name]

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