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If We Went A Year Without The Regents Tests, Do We Really Need Them Back?

Have the state Board of Regents just admitted that hybrid learning isn’t working?

It’s worth considering in the wake of the Regents decision to cancel Regents exams scheduled for January.

Many high school students in the state are either learning entirely at home or in a mix of at-home and in-school classes. Last week, we reported Sherman Central School teachers have already asked for ninth-graders to return to in-school learning because more than half of the freshman class was failing at least one course.

Now, we have the Board of Regents canceling exams students need to graduate with the all-important Regents designation. It was one thing to cancel tests last June when students hadn’t been in class for three months. It’s another to have gone through a summer of planning for online learning and then cancel the first round of Regents tests.

Regents officials won’t come out and say hybrid learning isn’t working. They rely on words like exaggerated inequity, giving the tests safely, equitably and fairly during the pandemic, and the health and well being of students and educators. Canceling the tests, however, reeks of fears that students can’t pass the tests because there is no guarantee that they have covered the state’s required material while learning at home.

One has to wonder what this means for third- through eighth-grade testing scheduled for the spring as well. If it isn’t fair to judge high school students on Regents tests in January because schools across the state have started at different times and have different formats for in-school and at-home learning, isn’t the same logic true for younger students?

Here’s something else to chew on.

If the state can go a year without Regents test — both high school tests for graduation and yearly assessments for younger children — do we really need to bring them back at all?

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