As of now, students in New York have to pass five Regents tests in order to graduate—one in English, math, and science, and two in history. Yesterday, the New York State Board of Regents approved a plan for a “4+1" option, which would allow students to pass an exam in career-and-technical education, the arts, a different math or science, or a language other than English in lieu of one of the history exams.
The new regulations would begin with students eligible to graduate this spring.
Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said the new options are meant to improve the state’s 75 percent graduation rate. The union, business leaders, and the commissioner are all supportive of the plan.
The plan (which you can see in full here) must still be formally be adopted at a January meeting, but it is expected to take effect at the end of that month.
As an aside, when asked about the proposed change, former Education Week Teacher blogger Ilana Garon, a high school teacher in New York City who has written about testing, said it would be a relief for many students not to have to pass both the U.S. History and Global History Regents exams. “To substitute another exam would help a lot of them, I think, particularly those for whom English is a second language (who therefore find the America-geared political cartoons in the U.S. History exam, in particular, to be rather puzzing),” she wrote in an email. “So, yes. I think it’s a big deal, and my students will be SUPER pleased when they find out.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.