Taking tests is something everyone must do and most dislike. When it comes to Regents Exams, New York State may not be truly trying to help you do your best. Regents Exams are a waste of both student and teacher time and there is absolutely no point in taking these tests to pass courses.
Think of it this way—if you are a freshman taking Chemistry and there are students from other grade levels in your class, all of you have to take the exact same exam in June. Though, there are, more-often-then-not, students that need more time to learn some things while others don’t require much time at all.
This doesn’t change the exam in any way, so both student types take an exam that is the exact same. Why give every student the same test to take when everyone’s brain works differently? Not everyone thinks the same way and many don’t comprehend things in a similar fashion or at a similar pace.
My first Regents exams were last year. I took both the Living Environment and Algebra I Exams along with eighty of my fellow classmates.
At the time, I was in 8th grade. I was taking the same exam as many freshmen and sophomores. Many times before these exams, my teachers stressed the importance of achieving “mastery” on these exams (which is a score of 85% or higher). They recommended retaking these exams until I achieved the score I wanted so I could earn a distinction diploma when I graduate.
My teachers repeatedly told me that if I didn’t get the distinction diploma, I wouldn’t get accepted to a good college, because most good colleges only want smart kids. From what they were saying, my teachers made me think I couldn’t get into a good college if I got below 85% on my Regents exam in 8th grade.
There are also, however, good aspects about these tests. There’s a curve in the grade. I like the curve on the test because if you mess up on a couple questions, the curve would help you more than it‘d hurt you.
You can pass most of the exams without getting even half the questions correct. Yet, just passing the exams doesn’t get you the distinction on your diploma and NYSED doesn’t make it easy to get mastery on your exam. For example, you have to get 68 out of 86 questions correct to get mastery on the Algebra I Exam, as of August 2019.
There is a 41 question difference between passing the exam and mastering the exam. New York State makes it super easy to pass the exam, but they make sure only the smartest achieve the sought-after accomplishment of mastery.
I really hope New York State removes these exams. There are so many more important things in life than worrying and stressing over an exam all throughout May and June.
It gets people worked up and stressed to the point where they panic and when they‘re handed the test they mess up. These tests make kids worry so much, and they believe that they aren’t smart if they don’t get a good grade.
Every kid is smart, but when they get 60% or below on the assessment, New York State makes them believe they are stupid and that is neither fair nor right. Kids work so hard studying the content but then they’re handed the test and they get hung up on the wording in a couple questions and give up on the whole thing.
Do you want a test to define you? Do you want one bad grade to determine what school you’re going to? I’d think not.
I don’t want to be judged because I failed my Regents tests. Some people are bad test takers. Some people get anxiety when taking tests. Some people may be experiencing a dreadful day and had to take a test on top of their existing stress.
New York State doesn’t pay attention to that when handing out numbers. If students perform badly, they receive a bad grade. Does that mean they aren’t smart?
If someone’s grade point average is in the 90s the whole year they are smart, no matter what they get on any tests. They should be able to get into good colleges based on their class work and GPAs, not only on their test scores.
Maybe if Regents tests are banned, people won’t have so much anxiety and be so stressed out. Banning Regents exams would benefit students for the better.
Lexi is a junior at Sweet Home High School and previously wrote for the Panther Press where she was the editor for the News section for two years. Lexi is now the Opinion section editor of The Panther Eye. She plays volleyball for the Varsity team at Sweet Home.