Dumbing down New York’s Regents exam

New York has dumbed down its Regents exam to avoid failing too many students, writes Michael Winerip in the New York Times. This year, for the first time, high schools students must score at least 65 on five exams — English, math, science, global history and U.S. history — to earn a diploma. But it’s easy to score 65, Winerip asserts. Literacy is optional.

The three-hour English test includes 25 multiple choice questions, an essay and two short responses. A student who gets 1’s on both responses is likely to reach 65, Winerip writes. What does it take to score a 1? The state teachers’ scoring guide gives an example of a 1-worthy short response:

These two Charater have very different mind Sets because they are creative in away that no one would imagen just put clay together and using leaves to create Art.

He also provides the start of an essay that deserves 4 out of 6 points, according to the guide:

In life, “no two people regard the world in exactly the same way,” as J. W. von Goethe says. Everyone sees and reacts to things in different ways. Even though they may see the world in similar ways, no two people’s views will ever be exactly the same. This statement is true since everyone sees things through different viewpoints.

I suppose one could argue that blathering, bluffing and echoing the words of authority figures are important workforce skills.

Winerip, never a fan of standards and accountability, doubts “there are new and higher standards, stronger curriculums and better tests just over the next hill to solve all our problems.”

“Four now,” he writes, “Wm. Shakespare must Be a turnover in his Grave (1 point).”

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