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Guilderland botched grading of 504 Regents exams

15 students dropped from pass to fail but will not see their scores changed

Fifteen students in the Guilderland Central School District may have just had the best summer vacation of their lives without even knowing it.

The district announced today that 504 of the Regents exams students took in June were graded incorrectly nearly one in six tests and that new grades would be going out on all but 15 of them. Those incorrect scores will be retained because they would push a previously passing grade down to a failing one.

If the tests had been scored correctly, those students probably would have spent the summer studying for the August retake.

"It is not in my world view to penalize students on a teacher error," said Superintendent Marie Wiles at a press conference today.

She added that the failing scores would not have affected anyone's graduation, but could throw off a student's progress since they didn't have the opportunity to go to summer school and retake the test.

"They would potentially need to double up on coursework," Wiles said. "These students are typically the ones that struggle the most."

The August Regents tests are being given today and tomorrow across the state.

The errors were all made in scoring the multiple choice part of the Regents, where students fill in bubbles on a separate card that can then be fed into a machine for tabulation. This was the first year the state required schools to submit those cards for electronic grading, but it also offered schools the option of hand-grading them before their submission.

That's the route Guilderland took because there were concerns about whether the district's software was compatible with the state's, Wiles said. Replacing the software would cost several thousand dollars, on top of the $2.10 per test fee the state now charges for the mandatory scanning. Guilderland administered 3,163 tests in June.

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