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!!!!