New York’s Regents exams were the first of their kind. The way things are going, one day in the not-too-distant future, they could also be the last.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (also a Democratic candidate for president) signed a bill doing away with that state’s exit exam earlier this month, leaving just 11 states that require students to pass specific tests to graduate from high school, according to FairTest, a nonprofit group that advocates against high-stakes testing.
One of them is New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy campaigned on a promise of doing away with that state’s exit exam, which is currently mired in legal challenges. (Lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday about how to resolve those challenges but are considered likely to preserve some kind of exit exam for now.)
New York requires not one but five exams, known as the Regents exams, in most cases. In recent years, policy makers have carved out exceptions for some students, but the state has seen little sustained challenge to the Regents program, despite mounting evidence that exit exams do not result in better-prepared graduates and might even increase the risk that some students drop out.
Why? Last year, the state’s top education policy maker said that the exams are part of the state’s education DNA.
“The Regents exams have been part of our core … so that would be a challenge to sort of say, ‘Let’s get rid of Regents exams,’” Betty Rosa, chancellor of the state’s Board of Regents, told Chalkbeat.
You can catch up on the twisted history of New York’s high school exit exam program — from its introduction in the mid-1800s to its toughening two decades ago to the exceptions that Rosa and her colleagues have recently allowed — in our 2018 must-read by Monica Disare.
This story was originally published on https://www.chalkbeat.org/