The Shen Pen

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The Shen Pen

The Shen Pen

Students debate the role of Regents Exams

As the end of the school year approaches, students, teachers, and parents are once again thinking about the New York State Regents exam and whether it should be abolished or kept forward. While some say that the Regents are an outdated form of assessment, others believe that keeping these exams plays a crucial role in maintaining high educational standards across the state. 

One Shen senior, Dimitri Mall, said that he has found the regents exam to be stressful and would support a final project instead. “I think a final exam is definitely necessary. Regents specifically, I think they overall make me perform worse because of the added stress of an exam that will make up a lot of my grade in the class. Just having a final project will probably be adequate, if not better in terms of performance,” said Mall. Mall explains that one of the reasons he finds in support of a final project rather than the NYS regents is the reduced test anxiety. 

The first NYS Regents examinations were administered in 1866 as a form of standardized educational assessment. Today, New York is one of only nine states that still require a regents examination to graduate. One of the criticisms against the relevance of the NYS Regents examination is their emphasis on memorization.

This sentiment is expressed by student, Alex Finnegan, who is a junior at Shen. “I think tests are flawed because if you test someone on memorization, they will remember something for at most 6 months. If you ask someone who graduated from high school, they will absolutely not remember anything,” said Finnegan. Finnegan said that he has found tests to be more focused on memorization than on understanding. Students like Finnegan point out that they often just memorize for the sole purpose of performing well on the test and forget about the material afterward. 

However, not all students view the NYS regents negatively. Sean Macaluso, a sophomore at Shen, said, “I don’t really have a problem with the regents carrying forward. I find I am able to impress myself with the knowledge that I have on the regents. I also like how the regents account for 10 percent of your class grade.” Macaluso is an example of a student who has thrived under the Regents exam. 

In terms of alternatives for the NYS Regents examination, some students have also expressed concerns for a final project instead of an exam. Yinglun Luo, a junior at Shen, said that cheating could possibly be an issue for a final project. “Alternative final projects are a good way to find out a student’s communication and research skills. But final projects don’t include a close controlled environment to prevent cheating, such as ChatGPT and the internet. Once you start putting restrictions on the project, it all ends up in a standardized, closed, sit down test,” said Luo.

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