NY High School Regents Exams: Do We Still Need Them?

NY High School Regents exams began in New York State in 1876, a hundred years after our nation’s Declaration of Independence. While they’ve evolved, they continue to this day, testing NY’s high school students in most academic subjects.CompTIA Security+

Students who passed their exams received Regents certificates. This too has evolved. High school students who pass the required Regents receive a Regents diploma, which carries some clout in the college admissions process.

The first Regents exams were: algebra, American history, elementary Latin, natural philosophy, and physical geography. First administered in June 1878, their purpose was to insure that the subjects were taught thoroughly enough so that pupils who went on to more advanced studies after high school would be well prepared.

Today, over a century later, does it make sense that New York high schools continue to prepare students for Regents exams? Are Regents exams relevant or are they vestiges of an educational system of yesteryear? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.

Cons. Some argue that they should be discontinued because they’re no longer relevant. They point out that since the majority of students now take the SAT or ACT tests, Regents exams are no longer needed to ascertain that students have learned enough to go on to college.

Even more prevalent among is the position that it’s not uncommon for students to coast along during the school year only to consume past Regents exams and learn the course on their own in the last weeks before the June exams.

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