NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Dim Prospects For Students Facing Tests In N.Y.C.

March 16, 1999

Starting next year, the vast majority of students in the state of New York must pass a new English-proficiency Regents Test to graduate. A trial run has indicated that more than one-quarter of all seniors in the state -- and one-third of those in New York City -- may fail the test next year.

  • The state reported that 27 percent of 12th graders in the state flunked the English Regents exam last year, whether they took the test in 12th or earlier grades.
  • In New York City, 37 percent failed it.
  • But students in the 11th grade this year must pass the test this year or next with a score of 55 or better.
  • And officials say the new version of the test, to be given for the first time this June, will be harder -- lasting six hours over two days and putting more emphasis on analytical writing.

Students have been required to take a number of standardized tests in recent years. Exams in other subjects will be added in subsequent years -- and the passing score will be raised to 65. In the past, students who failed Regents exams -- which were originally designed for students going on to college -- were able to graduate with non-Regent diplomas.

In a related development, the Chancellor of New York City Schools, Rudy Crews, threatened on several recent occasions to resign if Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proceeds with his announced plans to offer school vouchers. The vouchers would allow students from low-income families to escape the city's failing schools and attend private schools at taxpayers' expense.

Source: Randal C. Archibold, "New Graduation Standards Will Be Difficult for Many, Student Scores Indicate," New York Times, March 16, 1999.


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