Are Regents Necessary?

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  • #591361

    HIE
    Participant

    I would like to make a vote if regents are necessary or not. U should only vote if u took NYS regents. Say yes or no

    #681354

    oomis
    Participant

    I took all the regents and they were the biggest waste of my time. I got over 95 on most of them, only did badly on one (and that was the fault of the teacher and the entire class did poorly), and still believe there was no value to cramming something into our heads at a crazy pace, in order to be able to pass a test, versus actually teaching us at the level at which we were able to learn. Other states do not require these tests, and their students are doing just fine.

    I was fortunate to be a top student, so I did not need constant reinforcement in class,

    but many of my classmates were not and really needed way more review of basic concepts.

    The regents tests only test how quickly you can cram for the test, and the teachers do not like them, either (at least, mine did not), because it interferes with the real essence of classroom learning. When one has to get a certain amount of information taught in a short time, something gets lost.

    So I vote NO (“lo” mit an aleph!).

    #681355

    jphone
    Member

    To say “all the teachers do not like them” is irrelevent. As long as the leadership of the teachers union feel it is useful, they will be given until such time there is a poltician ready to tell this union “no”.

    #681356

    postsemgirl
    Member

    Since I’m from out of town and we Baruch Hashem don’t hav regents, I could say that I’m living totaly fine without them. I don’t think they are necessary.

    #681357

    oomis
    Participant

    Jphone, you are correct about that – but I wonder why the leadership of the teacher’s union (of which my husband is a member(retiree), do not see that all they do is waste educators’ time with these tests (which could be better spent in actual and meaningful teaching), when final exams in June will suffice. IMO, there should be some form of checks and balances to make sure that those final exams are covering the curriculae, and are an accurate measure of the students’ abilities, but regents do not have to be that answer.

    #681358

    d a
    Member

    why is it, that in Yeshivos the teachers claim that their ONLY teaching regent material, but when it comes down to studying, you realize that everything that he taught you IS NOT on the regents!!!

    #681359

    hodulashem
    Participant

    I vote NO!!!! I hated regents!!! they are such a waste of time and energy… just added too much pressure and anxiety to my high school experience. if all the other states manage without them, why does ny have to do this to their students?

    #681360

    oomis
    Participant

    All the reasons given so far are a good indicator of why the regents should be given the boot. One more important reason, however, IT COSTS THE STATE TOO MUCH MONEY to continue running this program, money that could be put to better use to actually educate our kids, by paying teachers better salaries, providing better materials for the classroom, and so forth.

    #681361

    charliehall
    Participant

    Who said the teacher’s union likes them? They were pushed by politicians like Pataki, Bush, and Bloomberg who want more standardized testing rather than more education. Most teachers I have met would prefer more flexibility.

    #681362

    Jose
    Member

    Charlie,

    Regents have been around long before Pataki, Bush or Bloomberg were on the political scene.

    #681363

    Hde
    Member

    i also vote no…

    a. teachers are busy teaching just for the regent and what the regent will have or ask….. and not for the students knowledge.

    b. in the end all you get for all that hard work and weeks of nervousness is a gold sticker on your diploma.

    However i guess they do have to put out some required test or else the public academic standards would be low….. so…

    #681364

    HIE
    Participant

    Other states that have no regents don’t produce low class people cause hey didn’t take regetnts

    #681365

    jphone
    Member

    You asked why the teachers union is for it. I don’t know, ask your husband a retired school teacher. Nobody ever accused the teachers union – the uft – of keeping an agenda that had the best interests of the students as its goal. The agenda of the uft seems to be driven by what’s best for its members.

    I took the regents. They were a lot easier than any test my teachers would have prepared (I went to a school where english was and is taken seriously). I don’t think they are any more or less useful or useless, depending on your point of view, than a final exam prepared by the teacher.

    #681366

    Peerimsameach
    Participant

    no

    #681367

    HIE
    Participant

    Jphone, which school

    #681368

    oomis
    Participant

    Jphone, my husband taught Special Ed, so regents were never a factor for his students.

    My regents tests were not easier than the finals, which we ALSO had to take,a nd B”H I did very well in most of them. In fact the one regents exam in which I did somewhat poorly, was on material we never even covered in class. I also went to a school where the secular subjects were taken VERY seriously, and we were very well prepared for college. They ARE useless, a waste of three hours, and a thorough final exam would be a better indicator of what was covered in class during that school year. No other state to my knowledge feels the necessity to put their students through this, and there are plenty of extremely bright people who did not originate in New York.

    #681369

    simcha man
    Member

    As a teacher of a regent subject, I feel that there’s a tremendous benefit to the fact that my students take my subject more seriously than they take many of the others.

    Also, as a student (and now as a teacher) I feel that there’s a benefit in the predictability of the regent questions. The way to study for a regent is by doing lots of practice exams. Don’t sit down with your notes the week of the regent! Just do practice, practice, and more practice. Look up the answers explained in the Barron’s book whenever necessary and then do some more practice.

    What I deem to be the down side of regents is the system of rating. The scoring rubric is so screwed. My weakest students, who work crazy hard to pass my tests, generally get in the 80’s on the regent. I’m happy for them; but in essence what does this 85% really mean?

    #681370

    charliehall
    Participant

    Jose,

    Regents exams were around long before I was born, but they were never mandatory until recently.

    #681371

    ronrsr
    Member

    almost all states now require comprehensive assessment tests to graduate from High School, as part of the No Child Left Behind Act. This is a relatively recent development that they have been required.

    Regents Exams in NY have been around since 1865, and the High School Regents Exam since 1878.

    #681372

    aries2756
    Participant

    No I don’t think Regents are necessary. Teachers tend to teach for the regent rather than teach the subject matter for the sake of the subject matter. It causes too much tension and pressure on the kids since they are also taking final exams on other subjects. I would much prefer a “credit system” in each school to make sure that the child learns the necessary basics.

    Every student should have to pass the course and final exam in order to get the credit for the course. No child should be advanced to the next level if they didn’t master the previous level. So if they don’t get credit for the course they would have to repeat the course (not the grade) or do work on their own to pass the school exam for the course and credit.

    If kids knew that they would not advance without the current class credit or they would have to go to summer school, work on their own, etc in order to get the course credit before getting a diploma, they would take their classes more seriously. That would mean for instance, that if a sophomore didn’t pass math, when he/she is in the junior year, they would be in soph math and maybe even junior math instead of an elective. In this way the onus of responsibility is on the child. If they don’t take it seriously now they will next term or next semester when they have to make it up. If they are graduating and need another science or math credit, they would have to retake the course or make-up the work before getting their H.S. diploma. But that would be up to the teacher/principal to work through.

    In addition, the regents don’t necessarily ask questions on the material every teacher has covered. Internal testing and credit systems would be more reasonable because it would address the covered materials.

    Currently you can get a non-regents diploma, so what exactly is the point?

    #681373

    oomis
    Participant

    Charlie, regents were mandatory 40 eyars ago when I was in school, so I am not sure what you are saying.

    Simcha man, are you implying that ALL the students throughout the USA do not take their courses as seriously as New Yorkers, because they do not have regents exams? I was an A student, and found absolutely no value in taking or even preparing for regents. All it did was make me uncomfortable about having to sit for three hours in a room filled with hundreds of students, and not be in a more relaxed atmosphere.

    #681374

    1st timer
    Participant

    I took regents when I was in high school and now my kids are taking them. I found them unnecessary then as I do now. Why doesn’t someone in the “know” post information about how to go about eliminating this nuance. Our kids these days are overloaded as it is, why add more pressure to them. Starting after Pesach teenagers eat, sleep, and talk about regent 24/7. Yes, even on Shabbos!

    #681375

    jphone
    Member

    The fact that Regents are a requirement means that Yeshivos have to teach at least SOME of the subject matter. I can only imagine just how little of anything would be taught if schools prepared their own final exams. That kids decide they cant cram for the exam, the week before the regent is not a fault of the exam. It is the fault of students who choose to do nothing the entire school year, yeshivos that feel it is a waste of time to hire competent teachers (and where there are competent teachers fails to instill a level of seriousness for “english” that learning the subject matter requires)and apathetic parents who allow both to get away with it.

    If you want to argue whether standardized tests in general (under any name) are an indication of a students progress, how well the subject matter is taught and how well a school is doing, thats a different argument.

    #681376

    1st timer
    Participant

    The english department in most yeshivas do not work. There are a handful of students that listen and the rest are either too tired or uninterested to sit in classrooms that are being taught by mostly incompetent teachers. I don’t understand why they can’t hire normal teachers. If the non-jewish teachers are able to stimulate public school kids in the morning, why can’t they do the same in the afternoon in yeshivas. Why do my boys come home with a new teacher of the day/week in middle of March? Don’t the principals see there’s something wrong with their system? Why are the boys punished constantly with detention and writing assignments, when it’s clearly not their fault that the classes are boring? My son was punished for going to the gym after the teacher dismissed the class 10 minutes early because she finished teaching what she had prepared. What’s wrong with this picture?

    #681377

    1st timer
    Participant

    Another point to consider is why don’t they give Rabbeim english teaching positions. A- they could probably use the extra money, B- the same respect that the boys have during lemudei koddesh will be there for the english subjects.

    #681378

    jphone
    Member

    Regarding “B”. In my boys yeshiva ketana there are several Rabbeim teaching english classes, and it has done nothing but diminished the respect the boys have for them as Rabbeim.

    #681379

    Bodek
    Participant

    I’m gonna be brave now and disagree with most of the posters on this thread.

    When I was in school, I took all the regents.

    They were a great incentive to keep focused in class…They forced the teachers to finish the curiculum – and teach a lot more than they would have otherwise.

    I did not find them too hard, so it wasn’t much of a pressure…

    in fact the regents were usually easier than the regular tests i took throughout the year.

    However, I do agree that in many boys schools regents is a big waste of time…

    #681380

    Just-a-guy
    Member

    At most well funded decent public schools in NY state, the regents are no big deal and are usually somewhat easier than the level at which the class is taught and preparation for the regents consists of nothing more than learning the subject matter of the class.

    #681381

    simcha man
    Member

    Oomis1105, I absolutely do not think that regents are what motivate every single student. Yes, some are motivated to learn and do well on their own accord, but some need a regent as a motivator or as a “threat” hanging over their heads to buckle down, and yes, there are even those that could not care less about the regent either.

    Although I don’t think that a regent is the answer for everyone, I agree with Bodek that there are some positive points. Even in schools where there is no curriculum advisor, for a regent curriculum one can network elsewhere. In schools with a low education level, at least the regents curriculum is covered – the student graduates with that basic knowledge.

    Ask any 9th grade math teacher if the change in curriculum from Math A to Integrated Algebra I has made a difference. Although they are basically the same, Integrated Algebra I does take longer to teach. I found that students are more focused in 9th grade because there’s a regent at the end of the year. For the last few years (Math A was only taught for a few years, before it was Math I) some students were out to lunch in 9th grade and then their parents had to get them intensive tutoring in 10th so that they would pass the regent. What many of these students don’t know (or don’t want to know) is that in order to get a regents diploma they first have to qualify for a high school diploma. If they failed 9th grade math, the regent is worth nothing unless they make it up.

    I won’t deny it; there are negative attributes to the regents. As I mentioned before, the rubric is ridiculous. Some others have mentioned that teachers don’t deviate from the curriculum and incorporate other important information into their lessons.

    Some private schools have done away with the regent and are teaching on a much higher level. In the frum circles, Manhattan High has done so.

    #681382

    mosherose
    Member

    I hated taking the regents. big waste of time.

    #681383

    jewish grl
    Member

    if u dont want to take regents then u cld just take ur ged wen ur out of school

    #681384

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Regents are now completely watered down. I believe they should be made much more rigorous. BH at least they are a minimal standard to show some competence in the subject. Things would be even worse without them. Yeshiva kids would goof off in English even more than they do now without them.

    Years ago in chem or physics, one had to solve the entire problem. Now they usually do about 90% of it, and you only need to finish them. They also include irrelevant info that was only needed when you actually had to solve the entire problem. Some of the Bio questions border on, Can you circle the earthworm in the picture? How do you feel about pollution?

    If you want a more challenging assessment you should have the kids take the SAT subject tests. These are nationally administered tests that seem to better gauge one’s knowledge, and are required by many colleges for admission (usually three in the subjects of your choice).

    Note, I am speaking about my recollections of a while back when I took them, and comparing them to my kids’ review books. I hope the subject tests have not been watered down, as well.

    What also annoys me is that this bare-boned 150 page softcover NYS regents review in Bio, Chem or Phys, has become the actual textbook used by many yeshivas. It is a complete joke, and was never designed to be a textbook, only a short review.

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