Higher Standards On NYS Regents Essay, Research Paper
In the past few years, the New York State Board of
Regents has upped the standards in all areas of academic
study. While some of the standards are good for top
notch students, other students who struggle, get the
bitter end of the stick. This means that not all
students are regents material, and may have a hard
enough time trying just to pass. I am against the
highering of the standards. Not all students are
?In New York, the states? Regents have raised the
bar without taking the necessary steps to help students
reach it (Diane Ravitch).?
The regents approved new standards in every
subject, but some were so vague that the State Education
Department had to issue a guide to explain them.
Teachers can no longer prepare students, due to the
redesigned Regents exams. Even the teachers don?t
know what to expect. Unless changes come about soon,
some high schools will see very few graduates (Diane
?Only about twenty percent of all regents
examinations are passed. In some city high schools,
less than five percent of the graduates earn a regents
diploma (Diane Ravitch).?
Very few teachers have any experience of training
that enable them to teach the Regents level courses. In
social studies, the coverage in every area is so
extensive that neither teachers nor students know how to
prepare for the Regents examination. No one
can expect high school students to learn what the state
now requires, nor expect even teachers to master the
curriculum (Diane Ravitch).
For students to pass all the Regents exams, they
need well qualified teachers in every grade. To know
how to prepare their students, teachers need clear
standards and a core curriculum. yet, the state has
provided neither. If this mess is not straightened out
soon, large numbers of students are likely to pay the
price. The movement to improve academic performance by
raising the standards will suffer a terrible setback
The raising of the new standards acknowledges the
fact that students are preparing to live and compete in
a complex and demanding world. The public wants higher
standards. If we aim higher, we are likely to go
farther. The National Publication Education Week gave
New York the highest grade of any state. Schools must
be able to offer students with special needs, specific
accommodations in the short-term to enable them to meet
higher standards also (Antonia Cortese).
An April 1999 survey for the Education Conference,
found that, ?Three-fourths of New York voters claim to
be familiar with the states? efforts to set higher
standards. ?Eighty-nine percent of voters support to
raise standards, and seventy-five percent will support
the standards (Antonia Cortese).?
All students need enough time to acquire the
necessary knowledge and skills to ensure their success
on new state exams (Antonia Cortese).
?There is not enough time in the school day, year,
or the entire twelve years students spend in school to
learn everything that someone, somewhere believes
students ought to know even if all we taught were books
of lists (William Elwell).?
Once a part has been seen on a test, the teacher
will teach that the following year. But, then the
Regents will have decided that this bit of information
is no longer a reflection of what the teacher should
have taught or how well the student has learned (William
Some statistical results released by the Education
Department earlier this year showed that ninety-two
percent of the states one hundred twenty-four thousand,
two hundred sixty seniors in the ninety-nine through two
thousand academic year had already achieved a fifty-five
passing grade on the English Regents (Anny Kuo).
According to Princeton Review Regents exam expert,
Elizabeth Sila, ?some schools will allow students to
pass the exam with a fifty-five. Eventually, however,
all students will have to pass the exams with a
sixty-five,? she added (Elizabeth Williams).
?I think the Regents exam is misguided and provides
a disservice to the educational system at large,? said
Wayland-Cohocton School English teacher, John Molyneux
?The old exam was too mechanical , the new test is
easier than the old one,? said Bridget Andrews, a
Dansville student (Anny Kuo).
The Regents board hires teachers along with private
businesses like the Educational Testing Service to help
compile standards for test questions. Regents exams are
going to get more difficult, meaning harder test. The
board also hires people to write questions. After the
questions are created, the board has to review them to
make sure that they do meet the standards (Anny Kuo).
Early in the twentieth century, mathematician,
teacher, and philosopher Alfred North Whithead,
maintained that humans are simply not mentally equipped
to handle deal of random, inert knowledge.? Committees
are at work embedding and reinforcing the standards,
because the consequences of their actions will take so
long to manifest themselves, the casual link between
what they are doing and its ultimately calamitous
consequences may not become apparent in time to do
anything about it (Marion Brady).
?Need to study in great depth a relatively few
really powerful ideas, ideas that encompass and explain
major aspects of human experience (Marion Brady).?
Incredibly, New York?s State Education Department
hasn?t paid attention to such warnings. It?s using
scores on Regents exams to make high-stake decisions.
Any student who fails a single exam —— even one with
an otherwise successful high school record —— will
not receive a high school diploma (Ann Cook).
Experts across the country criticized such a policy
and argued that it places far too much importance on
test-taking; there is shockingly little evidence that
high-stakes tests actually produce significant gains in
academic achievement (Ann Cook).
Schools will be graded in three categories,
according to student performance on standardized test
—— ?meeting standards,? ?below standards? and
?farthest from standards,? stated Roger Bowen. Students
enrolled in schools that are ?farthest from standards, ?
or below standards? will wear a scarlet letter in the
eyes of college admissions offices (Roger Bowen).
School rankings mask the individual students?
potential, let alone communicate such scholastic
qualities as curiosity, work ethic and desire for higher
education. The regents, in their quest for
accountability and tougher standards, have created a
rankings system that is destined to punish potentially
outstanding college students who had the misfortune of
attending low-ranked high schools (Roger Bowen).
For these reasons and others, I believe that the
raising of the standards should not be done. Not all
students are equipped enough to contest with these
standards. Raising of the standards would make it very
unfair to students across New York State. There should
be a choice for students, because not all students are
equally equipped with the standard academic
Bowen, Roger W. ?School Ranking May Hurt Good
Students.? www.newsday.com. 11/16/2000.
Brady, Marion. ?The Standards Juggernaut.? PhiDelta
Kappan. May 1, 2000.
C.F. ?Poll: Make the Regents Universal.? Long Island
Business News. Nov. 20, 1995. Issue 47. P.12.
Cook, Ann. ?Exams Keep Standards Too Low.?
Cortese, Antonia. ?Why NYSUT Supports Higher
Kuo, Anny. ?Schools Try To Assist Seniors Who Haven?t
Yet Passed English Regents.? The Leader.
Ravitch, Diane. ?Higher, but Hollow, Academic
Standards.? The New York Times. Feb. 6, 1999.
Williams, Elizabeth E. ?Regents Exams: Annual Rite Of
Passage For High School Students.? The Hornell
Evening Tribune. 6/02/2000.