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I'd like to add some info about Regents Exams.

The Board of Regents of New York State sets standards for academic
high school diplomas and measures them via these exams.  If you want
an academic diploma, you take Regents instead of your school's
final exams, in the areas in which they are offered.  If you don't
pass them, you get a general (nonacademic) diploma.  They are subject-
matter exams (I remember taking them in the sciences, in English, in
history, and in math, though the areas may have changed since I took
them in the 1970's).  They are not basic skills exams for developmental
courses; neither are they AP exams.

Throughout the '80's the standards fell in NY and, at least in NYC,
most of the students who were taking Regents exams were the students
from the specialized high schools that required entrance exams.
Most other high school students were taking the Regents Competency
Test, which was totally different--this was a minimum standards
basic literacy-type test.  This may explain why those students
who took the subject-matter Regents feel like they are above taking
anything that looks like basic skills.

Recently there has been a renewed emphasis on raising standards
for high schools and a push toward requiring more students to take
the subject Regents to graduate.  This has accompanied the pressure
to end remediation at the City University of New York.  In fact,
some people feel that CUNY's adopting open admissions in the 1970's
encouraged high school students to feel they could get a nonacademic
diploma and still go to college, thereby increasing CUNY's remedial
load when the students finally got there.

This is the view from New York City.  It is possible that the
balance of who does or does not take the Regents
is different in other parts of the state.

Annette Gourgey
CUNY
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