Schools miffed at Regents date change

Educators say moving test up means more cost, less access for students

Area educators are bristling at a recent change with the state English Regents exam that moves the testing date up a full two weeks.

The state Education Department said the change was made in response to requests from school districts, but here in the Capital District most, if not all, educational leaders say the change will mean less time to prepare pupils, pulling kids out of class for testing and, in some cases, assuming more costs for substitutes.

We heard about the date change a couple weeks ago, and that's the same time we heard about the rationale, said Shenendehowa Central Schools Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson. "I don't know what school districts they spoke to, but it certainly wasn't us."

Students usually take mid-year Regents exams during a few days in late January during which schools are otherwise closed. The Education Department says the new Jan. 11 testing date is necessary because a new format is being introduced, and time is needed to analyze the results to create conversion charts by Jan. 28. Those charts ensure a student in Rochester, or anywhere else, is being graded the same as every other student.

A memo sent to schools and provided to The Spotlight by the Education Department indicates districts have asked for the test to be moved up to ensure course grades can be completed and graduating seniors can get their results in time.

In the suburban areas of the Capital District, though, mid-year graduations are fairly uncommon.

"From our point of view, we didn't see any reason that it's advantageous to do it in this time frame," said Schalmont Central School District Superintendent Valerie Kelsey. "This scheduling change is cause for concern and has created multiple issues for our school district."

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