Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bronx Sixth Graders Pass The Living Environment Regents

In the Wednesday New York Times there was an article on how ten of the twenty-three sixth grade students(23 not 34 in the class?) passed the Living Environment Regents. The school is named Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science. One of the many small schools that has popped up throughout the city. Looking at the school's website the only thing I could find is that they have 517 students for grades six through eight. Therefore, I cannot deterimine if this school is like Ms. Fizzle's school where only level 3's and 4's need apply or any other screening is done to weed out the poor academic students. However, this is not about the students it's about the Regents.

The Living Environment Regents has, like all the other introductory Regents, has been dumbed down. Why? Well its because the State of New York believes it is important to have as many students as possible to graduate with a Regents diploma. Since the State can't increase the academic ability of it's students, the next best thing is to dumb down the Regents.

In my school the three best science teachers teach Earth Science, Chemistry, & Physics. They basically get over 50% passing in their respective Regents (the average passing rates are 35% for all the teachers in these subjects). However, the Living Environment teachers (who are not considered top teachers) have achieved a 72% passing rate! The reason for such a high passing rate is simple. The students only need to get 37 points to achieve a Regents grade of 65! Talking about math gone wild! Using a matrix that only the great gods of the State prepared allows students who have no where near mastered science to advance where they hit the brick wall of Earth Science/Chemistry. Is it any wonder that the students are doing poorly on federal tests while improving on the state tests? The reason the states are dumbing down the tests being elementary, middle, or high school.

The bottom line is if you cannot make the students smarter, then dumb down the tests!!!!


jonathan said...

What is remarkable is that 2 exams, Physics and Math B, have stayed hard. We understand that the new Geometry Regents (2010) will continue this trend.

NYC Educator said...

A lot of the science teachers in my school said the chemistry Regents was also comparatively easy this year.

Chaz said...


I agree with you about the two Regents but they are for the students looking for advanced Regents diplomas.

nyc educator:

The Chemistry & Earth Science Regents were relatively easy but not intentionally dumbed down. Last year the Earth Science Regents was hard and in 2004 the Chemistry Regents was a real bitch. These two Regents vary from year to year based upon who oversees these Regents.

On the other hand how come many of the students pass the English Regents but seem to have a hard time reading a passage or understanding the volcabulary? Is this because the English Regents have been dumbed down?? Not judging, just asking.

NYC Educator said...

I'm sure you're right, but I'd have failed it anyway. I have a lot of repsect for anyone at any age who can comprehend, let alone pass, a chenistry test.

I'm still thrilled about having passed the biology Regents in high school. I still consider that a miracle.

NYC Educator said...

The English Regents exam is a very basic writing test, and the standards for passing it were indeed lowered this year. I can teach ESL students strategies for writing four paragraph essays that directly address the test questions, and many of them pass despite a woeful lack of knowledge of English.

They don't really do them any service by making them take that test or by making them spend time passing it. The only skill they acquire in my prep class is that of passing the test.

While I do it because they need to pass, I could do better by these kids.

I'd say though, any American kid who can't pass this test, in many ways easier than the old one, is in big trouble.

There are four writing exercises, and only two require reading. Also, the kids have the reading in front of them and can use the short answers as cues for essays.

Anonymous said...

As a NYC teacher I understand the frustration with having kids get thorough the Regents Exams. Though the Living Environment exam is a bit light on Biology it is very heavy on literacy. These teachers have to teach the content as well as reading skills. I wonder what DATA you are drawing from to imply that Living Environment teachers are not considered top teachers in their own right.

Anonymous said...

I personally found the Bio/Living Environment regents (2007) to be more difficult than Earth Science (2006) or Chemistry (2008). I'm not sure if it was the teacher or the actual curriculum, but that has been my lowest Regents grade so far and in no way did I find the test "dumbed down"!!!