If New York State’s Board of Regents goes ahead with the proposal to eliminate the Regents exams, it will be the last straw in destroying public confidence in the value of a high school diploma (“The push to make New York high school diplomas completely meaningless,” New York Post, Jul. 26). These standardized exams that for more than a century were administered to students in academic subjects were a minimal check on what teachers taught and what students learned.
But because the tests didn’t result in more than 80.4 percent of students graduating, reformers want to abolish them. Doing so will no doubt boost graduation rates, but at what cost? There was a time when a high school diploma was a sign of real achievement. If the Regents exams are eliminated, a diploma will cease to have any value.
When I was in high school in Long Island, N.Y., Regents exams were a rite of passage. They measured basic skills and knowledge in such subjects as English, foreign languages, math and science. Past copies of the exams were readily available. In fact, I still have “Reviewing Spanish” by Amsco School Publications, Inc, (copyright 1939). Anyone who was even a mediocre student would have no trouble passing.
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