Massaging the Regents

Getting students to pass the Regents exam is “damn near everything,”, writes a Bronx high school teacher in New York Magazine‘s Workplace Confidential.

As teachers, we massage the tests to make sure if a kid is close to passing, he or she does. We don’t take a 30 and make it a 65, but we do our best to make that 62 a 65.

. . . This test is a requirement to pass high school and graduate. If the student doesn’t pass, the parent comes in screaming that he was a mere three points from passing. The principal hears it. Then we hear it. Then he ends up passing anyway. This is the norm. Seniors are the worst, because they feel so entitled that we have to cover our asses nineteen different ways to fail them. There have been stories of guidance counselors’ flat-out changing grades and passing ­seniors who should have failed but miraculously walked on graduation day.

Teachers are cogs in the system, the anonymous teacher writes.

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  1. Simple solution: blind grading by outsiders. It’s a conflict of interest for a teacher to grade his/her own students.

  2. tim-10-ber says:

    one would think educators would want blind grading…but yet that it would have always been the norm for standardized tests…

    • I don’t know a teacher that wouldn’t want it, if not for overbearing administrators, guidance counselors, and parents. I haven’t taught senior Regents classes, but those I know who do practically have to give those people updates constantly starting in May.

      • So you don’t know a teacher who wouldn’t want blind grading but for the people they report to, the people they work with and the people who, when they can’t brush them off they have to deal with? You make a compelling case for why blind grading’s never going to happen.

  3. “Teachers in New York State will no longer be grading their own students’ standardized tests. This is a welcome change, considering that New York has a long-standing problem with inflated state test scores and a history of teacher intervention skewing the normal statistical distribution of grades.”

    The change is effective next school year.

  4. The whole system lost validity when local diplomas were eliminated and the curricula changed in 2001. The worst offender is state ed, who places 20 point curves on some exams.