The response from "France" is controversial for good reason. The concept
of free will and individual responsibility is widely overdrawn. It may be
possible for us to relieve ourselves of the feeling of responsibility by
suggesting that, in Mager's words, "they really oughta wanta," but in
reality it is about as effective as the "just say no' propaganda effort to
reduce drug use. Evidence suggests that neither is the least effective.

On the other hand, the fact that these young people have grown up in an
environment that did not lead them to prepare themselves for academia,
should not require society to create a sort of academic special olympics,
where everyone can succeed no matter what their disability. Practicality
demands that we maintain the standards that society requires and at the
same time offer something of value to those who cannot--for whatever
reasons--meet those standards. I think we know how to do the former; I see
no evidence that we have a clue regarding the latter. When half of my
pre-pre-college students fail to pass the arithmetic course for the second
time, what helpful advice can I give them?

John M. Flanigan <[log in to unmask]>     The equation is the final arbiter.
Assistant Professor, Mathematics                    --Werner Heisenberg
Kapi'olani Community College            The scoreboard is the final arbiter.
4303 Diamond Head Road                              --Bill Walton
Honolulu HI  96816                      History is the final arbiter.
(808) 734-9371                                      --Edward Gibbon

On Fri, 12 Nov 1999, Prof Lorraine Lavorata wrote:

> What you say is right. I will add some very controversial yet very true
> observations. If poor, inner-city NYC youths are not motivated enough to take
> the required courses in high school then it is their fault why they are at a
> lower level and cannot pass the regents. They need to start challenging their
> minds instead of their fellow citizens in street gangs. It is not society's
> fault but their own. The education is available and if these students would
> take advantage, we would not need to pile up the remedial classes in colleges
> where students should already have the skills. In France these students would
> not even get the baccalareat and pass the lycee let alone get into a
> university. There is no open enrollment in France and in America, we should
> start modeling after France. France
> ===== Original Message From Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
> <[log in to unmask]> =====
> >Re the Regents' difficulty level:  As you said, reactions really
> >depend on where one is coming from.  At my specialized high school,
> >we were always glad to take a Regents because it was easier than
> >our school's final exams.  For students in an inner-city high
> >school, they would be difficult.
> >
> >The format in my time was usually a multiple-choice cumulative
> >final, testing subject knowledge.  It was all factual and, as
> >one of the posts said, we got the previous exams to practice on
> >so we knew exactly what to expect.  I used to feel that there
> >was a precise way you had to take the questions--not read too
> >much or too little into them--and if you got a "feel" for that
> >you could do well.
> >
> >In New York City, I suspect that most students who don't pass
> >the Regents have not taken the courses, as opposed to taking the
> >exams and failing them.  E.g. an academic diploma requires 3
> >years of high school math and a general diploma requires 1 or 2.
> >General students take only the minimum required courses.  That is
> >why they jack up the remedial load at a place like CUNY--if they
> >haven't taken intermediate algebra, they simply have to take it
> >at CUNY for no credit.
> >
> >Because the Regents are subject tests, they have no meaningful
> >correspondence to the SAT (except in so far as bright students
> >who test well will do well on all types of tests).
> >
> >Another question was about the Regents College Test.  Years ago
> >there was a Regents Scholarship Test.  I don't recall the content
> >except that it was grueling (I think it took two full days).
> >They were used for awarding merit scholarships, the precise
> >amount of which was then aligned with your tuition.  That was
> >abolished a number of years ago and was replaced by the Tuition
> >Assistance Program which is based solely on financial need.  I
> >assume the reason was that with the advent of open admissions and
> >the imposition of tuition at CUNY (which used to be free), poor
> >and underprepared students became the primary population at CUNY
> >and perhaps at other colleges as well.
> >
> >Again, apologies to the upstate people for my painting such a
> >provincially New York City picture!  I've been accused of being
> >too provincial more than once before, but it's all I know--which
> >means, I guess, that the label fits.
> >
> >Annette Gourgey
> Je pense, donc, je suis, Rene Descarte
> Chacun ont deux pays et un de ils est France, Benjamin Franklin
> vive la France