Regents exams to offer school districts unique challenges -- if they're offered

As things stand now, regents exams are 3 months away. This month, the Board of Regents will be holding a special meeting to decide the future of this year's exams.

Posted: Mar 1, 2021 6:17 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2021 3:30 PM

WHITESBORO, N.Y. --- As things stand now, regents exams are 3 months away. This month, the Board of Regents will be holding a special meeting to decide the future of this year's exams. The state originally requested the federal government to waive state assessments for grades 3 through 8 as well as regents exams, but that request was denied.

Now as the fate of this year's exams is uncertain, Whitesboro School Superintendent Brian Bellair said the district is preparing as if the exams are happening in June.

"We've taken that approach all along. We're planning for those regents exams and we're planning for those tests to be administered. So from a curriculum standpoint, teachers are teaching as if the exams are going to occur. But again it's more challenging now given the model of our instruction." said Bellair.

Schools are worried that the hybrid and remote models of learning brought on by the pandemic could've had an impact on how students have learned. Bellair said teachers have been working hard to make sure students are retaining the material in the curriculum. But said preparing students for the regents could be challenging.

"It's definitely creating additional challenges and stress for students and staff. When you look at any high-stakes testing situation even under ideal conditions those are challenging," said Bellair.

The New York Education Department (NYED) has yet to make a decision on this year's regents exams. They recently said in part quote, 

"When it is time to decide about these Regents Examination and other state examination administration periods, those decisions will be fully informed by all available and relevant public health and educational data. And as always, we will put the health and safety of
students and teachers first."

If the board of regents does decide to go through with the exams, Bellair said they could be given remotely. Which he said would present obvious challenges with test security and integrity.


Those assessments may be able to be given remotely. Obviously, that does present some unique challenges with regard to test security and test integrity. In this case, we may have students all around the district taking the exams at the same time and it would be very difficult for us to secure and manage that situation." said Bellair.

Districts are expecting a decision from NYSED on the regents exams in the coming weeks.

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