COVID-19: New York Cancels Next Wave of Regents Exams Due to Pandemic

We are part of The Trust Project

Regents exams for high school students in New York will be canceled in January as the state continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The New York State Education Department announced on Thursday that all January exams will be canceled, noting the shift in focus to the health and wellbeing of students during the current crisis. No decision has been made yet regarding the June and August Regents exams, officials said.

“We determined the January Regents Exams could not be safely, equitably and fairly administered across the State given where the pandemic currently stands,” said Interim State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa. “We will continue to monitor applicable data and make a decision on other State assessment programs as the school year progresses, being mindful of the evolving situation.”

According to the Education Department, officials will propose modifications to the assessment requirements that students must meet to earn high school diplomas, credentials, and endorsements at the December Board of Regents meeting.

Currently, students are required to take and pass these statewide standardized examinations, which measure their achievement and knowledge in high-school core curriculum. They include English, science, social studies, and math.

The modifications will apply to all students who are completing a secondary-level course of study or make-up program in January and are scheduled to participate in one or more of the January Regents exams, officials said. Additionally, to ensure students aren’t adversely impacted by the decision, the Department will ask the Board of Regents to adopt emergency regulations pertaining to the assessment requirements that students must meet to earn diplomas.

Under the proposed emergency regulations, students who are planning to take one or more Regents Examinations during the January 2021 examination period at the conclusion of a course of study or make up program shall be exempt from the requirements pertaining to passing such Regents Examination to be issued a diploma.

To qualify for the exemption, the student must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be currently enrolled in a course of study that would ordinarily culminate in the taking of a January 2021 Regents Examination and earn credit for such course of study by the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year; or
  • Between September 1, 2020 and the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year, successfully complete a make-up program for the purpose of earning course credit: or
  • Be preparing to take a required Regents Examination to graduate at the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year.

Board of Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown stressed the cancellation of January’s exams won’t impact the states priority to offer students a valued education.

“The Board and I are enormously grateful to the dedicated educators, school staff, community members, and parents who are working so diligently to ensure that students are safe and healthy this school year,” Brown said. “Whether they are engaged in in-school, hybrid, or remote learning, we are committed to ensuring each of New York’s students has access to the rigorous coursework necessary to prepare them for success this year and beyond.”

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.