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DUMBER BETTER: POLS
April 26, 2004 | By CARL CAMPANILE
Powerful state lawmakers are considering drafting legislation to scale back the use of Regents exams as the only measure to obtain a high-school diploma, The Post has learned.
The heads of the education committees of the Assembly and Senate are scheduled to draft a report on the policy that requires high-school students to pass five different exams to get a sheepskin - considered the toughest graduation requirements in the nation.
The report follows a series of hearings they conducted last year on the state policy.
Most of the people testifying at the hearings opposed the use of the Regents exams as the sole measure determining whether a student graduates.
Such legislative intervention would be political dynamite - coming on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg's new policy of eliminating social promotion in the third grade by linking promotion to results on standardized test scores.
It would also have state lawmakers taking the unusual step of attempting to overrule the Board of Regents, whose members are appointed by the Legislature.
"A decision on promoting students from grade to grade should not be based solely on standardized exams or a series of standardized exams," said Assembly Education Committee Chairman Steve Sanders (D-Manhattan).
Sanders stopped short of saying what he and Senate Education Committee Chairman Steve Saland (R-Poughkeepsie) would agree to jointly propose a bill, because they've yet to discuss the issues in detail.
Saland, while supporting high standards, said legitimate concerns have been raised about whether a graduation policy based on the results of "one-size-fits-all, multiple exams" was in the best interests of all high-school students.
"If I didn't think there were issues that warranted a review, I wouldn't have held the hearings," Saland said.
Some of the testimony came from city high-school students, teachers and principals who were previously allowed to use major research projects - called portfolios - as part of the criteria to determine promotion rather than using Regents exams.
But state Education Commissioner Richard Mills eliminated that exemption by ruling that all high-school students must take the Regents tests that cover English, math, science, and world and American history.
|produced by Naava Katz Design|