Monday, December 28, 2015

How To Improve The Graduation Rate By 26%? Stop Requiring Them To Take The Regents.

In New York State, almost all students who graduate high school must show mastery in their core subjects of English, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  To show that students have achieved mastery in these core subjects, the students must pass the State Regents exams to meet graduation requirements.  To ensure that the students Regents exams were tamper proof, teachers from other schools graded these exams at off school sites (except for charter schools).  However, there were a select few schools that were exempt from the Regents requirements and instead were allowed to submit a portfolio instead.  These student portfolios were graded by the school's staff and usually by their own teacher!  Not surprisingly, these schools showed higher graduation rates than schools of similar demographics.  One school improved their graduation rate by 26% by replacing the Regents with the student portfolio option.  Because, a school's grade is based upon the graduation rate, more schools wanted to replace the Regents requirements with the student portfolio option and who could blame them? Very quietly, the DOE has allowed 20 high schools to dodge the Regents exams.  That is a 77% increase in schools that no longer use the Regents exams to determine graduation in the DOE's quest for a higher graduation rate.

The beneficiaries of the switch from Regents to portfolios were the International schools, who catered to recent immigrants with poor academic skills. While I personally have little problem with these schools supplementing the Regents requirements with a student portfolio option.  I do question the widespread use of portfolios instead of a Regents exam and the portfolio grading structure that allows the school's own teachers to grade the student portfolio.  Furthermore, I saw with my own eyes how one teacher at a International school rewrote the student's  portfolio and then graded her own work as if it was done by the student.  Do you think the student's portfolio passed?  Finally, I question the use of the portfolio option when it comes to higher education.  If these students need to use the portfolio option, how in the world will they succeed in college where testing is required?    Are we pushing them into no-credit remedial courses in a two year community college only for them to drop out because of their inability to show mastery of the subject through testing?

The State Regents exams are used by colleges to show a student's mastery in that subject and replacing it with the student portfolio option allows for potential academic fraud and the inability of these students to succeed in college.  Let's make the portfolio option more stringent and only used in conjunction with Regents exams to determine the real graduation rate of these schools.


Anonymous said...

Yes, those international schools in LIC are an interesting lot.


Anonymous said...

I've been to several International schools in the Bronx. Pan American in Monroe does top notch portfolio work with the kids (the principal is another story), Bronx International also does great work, Claremont in Taft is terrible and should be closed and the leadership principal removed, also the one in the old Dodge HS is mediocre at best.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Farina didn't get rid of all the International schools and just buy Rosetta Stone for English.

Anonymous said...

There are actually 38 DOE high schools whose kids are exempt from the Regents. The kids do portfolios and get Regents Diplomas under a waiver from the State.These include the Beacon School where someone's daughter (Bill DiB) went. You can see them in the HS directory:

What's amazing is that even with this major advantage, some of these schools have dismal grad rates.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of these exams would go a long way towards making the school serve the needs of the public rather than rating their employability for the companies. The school is a service made available to the population not a means of evaluating human material for exxon mobil or any other corporation. The goal of education is not to measure surveil and punish, but to encourage human growth and development to its fullest. Regents and any standardized metric never does that, never intends to--it merely reflects bureaucratic paranoia and a spurious claim of ownership over the youth.

Anonymous said...

FariƱa and the YET are all corrupt, while they keep pushing out veteran experienced teachers with the help of 400 lawyers. I hope there is a shortage of teachers soon.

Anonymous said...

too bad there wount be a teacher shortage-- just a revolving door- which is there goal

faryal naaz said...

Fully appreciate the value you are providing here.
thanks for posting this blog. its really very helpful for us.
money mastery