Students can not be retained in a grade just because they failed the state test in New York but the feelings and implications of ‘failure’ can be just as intense as what Kathleen Jasper reports from her experiences as an educator and now an advocate speaking against high stakes testing in Florida.
I have to warn you though that her description of the Academic Lifecycle of a “Non-Proficient Student” might make you cry. Please read it anyways.
Unfortunately there are many students in New York, like George in the article, who will not receive that all important ticket to employment (a diploma) due to the new Common Core Regents and the associated graduation requirement changes being put in place by the Board of Regents. New York State parent Christine Zirkelbach has been reporting on special education graduation issues as well as Common Core for the last year. She tackles the Regents Pathway Plan here.
New York State is the only state that requires 5 high stakes exams in order to earn any type of diploma. Up until graduation year 2014, students were required to take a Regents in Math, Science, English Language Arts, US History and Global History & Geography. Special Ed students had a safety net called the RCTs, or Regents Competency Tests.
For graduation year 2015, the RCT option is removed.
The Math and ELA regents are now “Common Core aligned”, and are written to be vocabulary tests. The cut score for the first Algebra 1 Regents was set to a 33, out of 100.
The IEP diploma was removed.
Tisch dismissed the IEP diploma as “nothing”.
I would point out to Tisch that it was better then a CDOS which actually is nothing, as no one recognizes it as a graduation credential and you cannot get a job or go to college with it.
The Regents Pathways option might help some students who can’t pass one of the 5 Regents exams eventually but Christine points out that it might be a little bit of a stretch to expect it to be helpful to students graduating in June 2015 when this test that they ‘can’ take hasn’t even been designed yet.
As Kathleen Jasper says “Oppression comes in all shapes and sizes. In American public schools it comes in the form of high-stakes tests.”