Here in Hawaii, we have a state-wide competency exam students have to pass
in order to graduate. I understand it is "extremely basic" and not that
difficult. I surmise that if it were more difficult, the state would have
to support a large number of students who would have to stay back for
another year. And, there is the consideration that for some people, a
standardized, paper and pencil test does not accurately demonstrate their
ability. Thus, I propose (so easy for me since I am not in the Department
of Education) that students who do not pass the exam be counseled in
pursuing an avenue to remedy the deficiency. That is, provide them the
options and let them choose among a) staying in high school  b)
choosing a community college with open admissions and remedial courses, or
c) attend "transition school". Option C is a flight of fancy that will
probably never happen. Presumably, it would involve a smaller number of
students which would allow the teachers to tailor the learning environment
to meet indiviudal needs. Thus, there would be differing lengths of stay
in the program. For some students it might take a few months, for some it
might take a few years. I believe that one of the major factors in a
student's inability to read and write at graduation is the educational
system's inability to respond to individual differences. Students who do
not pass a standardized examination represent our inability to provide an
effective learning environment for all students. As I say to students who
may have learning disabilities, another perspective is that it is an issue
of our teaching disabilities rather than your learning differences. It
will not happen because it would take a lot of $$$. Perhaps this is a
niche for a private school (without the restrictions of a public
institution) between high school and college. Any entreprenuers out there?

Aloha,  Rosie

Rosemarie Woodruff
Counseling and Student Development Center
University of Hawaii-Manoa
2600 Campus Road, SSC 312
Honolulu, HI 96822

                The world is full of obstacle illusions.
                                                         Grant Frasier

On Thu, 11 Nov 1999, Helen M. Sabin wrote:

> The best education my children had was in New York! It is time that all
> high schools have "regent exams."  There have been too many students
> passed upward without having the ability to read and write.  I have a
> student who graduated 10th in her school and she is in my remedial
> reading clases at community college level.  she is "furious" that she
> has to be in this class and does not understand that her high school
> achievement level is way below that of other schools.  Let's us as
> educators push for a national "regent" exam and we will start having
> literate children!
> Helen Sabin
> Annette Gourgey wrote:
> >
> > 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
> > [log in to unmask]