2012 New York Regents ‘English exam appears to be the easiest in memory’

by Grace

Hey college professors, the student who wrote this sentence in the short response section of the New York English Regents exam may be coming to your classroom next year.

These two Charater have very different mind Sets because they are creative in away that no one would imagen just put clay together and using leaves to create Art.

According to Michael Winerip of the NY Times, this writer has a “pretty good shot” of passing the New York English Regents exam, an important criteria for graduating high school.  After reviewing the questions and and grading standards, Winerip concludes that officials have opted to dumb down the state tests.

The current state English exam appears to be the easiest in memory.

It’s hard to get zero credit

From what I can tell, it would be very hard to get zero credit for the short response questions of the test.  Here’s the criteria from the scoring guide.

Score Point 0

  • is off topic, incoherent, a copy of the task/texts, or blank
  • demonstrates no understanding of the task/texts
  • is a personal response

According to these guidelines, the response example given above is coherent and deserves a score of 1.  Based on other examples in the teacher’s scoring guide, it appears that as long as the student makes some reference to the text in question and demonstrates even a little understanding of it, he will receive at least a one-point score.  There are no examples of “incoherent” responses in the guide, a possible indication that the bar is set very low for this category.

I remember looking at the state tests for elementary students and coming to a similar conclusion.  In particular I found that although it was easy to give some credit for each individual rubric factor and end up with an acceptable score, it was possible that the resulting paragraph in its entirety would hardly have qualified as an example of competent grade-level writing.  Funny how that worked.

UPDATE:  Catherine at Kitchen Table Math teaches college composition and says these children have been cheated, and so have we.

Comprehensive English Regents Examinations

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