NYS Regents Exam Revision

[“It’s a lot easier — there’s only one essay!” a teen told one teacher who proctored the exam.]

I plan on (or intend to) go into in length about this but first reaction….? Shortening an exam from 2 days seems reasonable – for something with with clearcut answers such as some of the different Math disciplines. Even then, most math exams have a portion of the exam which calls upon a student to show their work in detail; presumably as both a diagnostic for teaching, and to help the student who may know what they are doing but somewhere along the line makes a simple mistake costs them full credit for the final answer.

However, let’s think about the English/Literature discipline. Any exam that correctly gauges a person’s ability to read and write – comprehend, really- can’t be done with simple multiple choice questions. Any qualified educator of English Language Arts knows that testing consists of learned facts, comprehension of what you’ve read and the ability to apply it, along with the ability to apply previously learned skills and concepts to similar or even dissimilar situations. I, myself, know that I hate most of the quotes picked for the critical lens (quote) essays, but at the same time, I’m aware of the fact that they require a student to not only write about the quote but to do it pointedly with something, anything, really they have ever learned and to then qualify it with a literary example.
To shorten the exam to just one critical lens question is like taking someone’s word on face value, thus being that opinion you draw of them from their answer to be the final verdict. This doesn’t give credence about the answer whether it be bs’d, thin, astonishing, or bordering on mentally handicapped; rather, iy becomes the final end all-be all on that person’s ability and aptitude, and never allowing them a chance to reinforce their awesomeness, or actual ability.

Because I wanted this to be quick, I’m going to end now, but just think about it, mathematically. If a person can answer a question confidently twice, and does well then you know their ability. But what test in the world is never repeated?