Are Regents exams valid assessments of a student’s work?: Present only in New York State, Regents exams are counterproductive and inaccurate

Lindsey Smith and Leah Doubert

When June rolls around, many things are on a Schreiber student’s mind: the last day of school, summer break, and, worst of all, Regents exams.

Because these tests are only given in New York and they are often given in conjunction with, rather than in place of, finals, these exams should not be required.

Students in New York State receive what is known as a Regents diploma when they pass at least five Regents exams. Moreover, an Advanced Regents diploma is given when they pass nine Regents exams.

Preparing for the Regents can distract students from studying for their finals.  There is no point in taking multiple tests for the same class, and all it does is pile on stress for the students which leads to lower scores on both the Regents and finals.

“I do not think that the Regents exams are necessary.  Students generally have to take finals for their classes, so I don’t think they should need to take multiple tests for one class.  The Regents create added stress for students during finals week, and since they have class finals as well, there is no reason to continue giving Regents.  I think that in class finals are enough for students,” said freshman Maansi Shroff.

Finals are a more accurate representation of what students have learned because not every school teaches subjects in the same way.  Teachers have their own style of teaching that they think is best for the students.

“Not every school in New York State teaches the same exact topics.  Also, this would allow teachers to focus on what they believe students should learn rather than having to strictly adhere to the Common Core guidelines,” said freshman Maddie Hiller.

The Regents exams are not necessary.  There do not need to be standardized state exams testing students on a specific subject for what they’ve learned during the year.  It would be more beneficial and fair for the teachers in each school to put together a final exam based on what they’ve taught.

“Although the Regents are useful assessments of yearly progress for both students and teachers, I think that overall they aren’t necessary.  No other state in the US requires the Regents, and very few have similar standardized tests.  Because of that, these tests that we spend so much of the year preparing for are very rarely used in the college process,” said junior Lauren Seltzer.

Furthermore, private schools are not obliged to administer Regents exams in schools although many of them still offer these exams. Top tier private schools state that their own requirements for students exceed those given the Regents exam.  This is a testament to how unnecessary the Regents exams truly are.

Many students feel that the Regents exam does not show the strengths and intelligence of an individual, and it is not usually viewed by colleges out of state.  In addition, the Regents grades are on a curve so it makes it easier to do well on the exam, therefore it does not depict the student’s full potential.

“The Regents exams are not needed because they are not standardized throughout the US, just in New York State.  They are only viewed by in-state colleges.  All the grades are curved up, so a student who only knows 40% of the test can still ‘show sufficient knowledge’ and pass the exam.  The SAT and ACT are much more accurate representations of a student’s academic level,” said freshman Charlie Dash.

Many feel that other tests taken in the United States more accurately assess a student’s academic level and proficiency in various school subjects.  The fact that other states do not give a test like the Regents sets the example of how useless it is to the students.

“Some other states don’t do Regents-type tests and they’re fine without them.” said sophomore Maya Hershkowitz.

Overall, the Regents exams are in no way necessary.  They distract students from studying for their final exams, and they are not as accurate of a representation of a student’s academic level as the SAT, ACT, or AP/IB exams.

Since students have been pressured enough by all these assessments, they do not need to further stress themselves even more.  The Regents exams are the least effective and helpful of students’ cumulative exams and therefore should be the one to go.

Many other states have successful education systems without Regents-like exams, so there is no reason that New York State needs to continue administering these tests.

While the process of eliminating the state exams may be a complicated and long one, it will do much to relieve many students’ stress with the entire prospect of preparing for the Regents exams.  Students can use this time for more productive reasons whether it be focusing on their finals or focusing on their extracurricular activities.