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Raising the bar for regent exams

Patrick McGrath, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Mohonasen Central School District, said setting the bar higher for students is a good idea.

"It shows a difference, and when you raise the bar like that it gives you a little different perspective," said McGrath. "It is kind of like a numbers game figuring out what all of this means. We have to find the areas we want to get stronger but we do have areas that are effectively reaching kids."

McGrath said the school district focuses on a student's growth model to see if they're improving their scores on regent exams and not just passing each one without improvement from year to year. Also, he said, the district is already working hard to improve math and reading skills.

"The ultimate goal is to give students and parents a better and more realistic understanding on how they are being prepared for college," said Robert Hanlon, spokesman for Scotia-Glenville Central School District. "We [have been] saying these kids are prepared to meet standards, but then they have to take remedial courses in college."

Hanlon said the teachers are "on the front lines" and know what students need help and assistance, so help is provided along the way. In the end, students having difficulties will be indentified before any regent scores are calculated.

New York State Education Department Commissioner David Steiner plans to ask the United States Department of Education to allow schools statewide to earn the previous cut scores on this years exams, which occurred before the cut score change was known. This will allow a better chance for schools to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress.""

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