A tougher Regents could be coming

Johnson says Rockville Centre is ready for stricter tests


With the new Common Core Standards being implemented, New York state seems in line to roll out new, more difficult Regents Exams in the next school year, making them more akin to Advance Placement tests than past Regents.

Rockville Centre Superintendent Dr. William Johnson, who is the chair of the State Curriculum Committee for the New York State Council of School Superintendents, saw a preview of the new English Language Arts Regents and immediately noticed that it seemed much more difficult than past exams.

“The level of difficulty that we believe the questions are going to be, and we’re not sure what those question are going to look like, but everything that we’ve seen so far suggests that the questions match at least the level of difficulty of the questions that are on the [International Baccalaureate] exams,” he said. “It resembles, very much, what an A.P. exam looks like.”

Johnson also sits on the State Assessment Sub-Committee. Through these committees, he and other superintendents are able to share their input on the state’s standardized tests.

The test that Johnson got a glimpse of is likely to replace the junior-year English Regents in June, 2014.

“I know that the state is ramping up the exams to match the Common Core, and to the extent that the Common Core and all of these subjects need to have revised exams, they will be revised,” Johnson said. “The concern that I have with the other exams is that it’s somebody else looking at the standards, and not necessarily a teacher that teaches the subject. We’ve got to make sure that the appropriate people are involved in making an exam for kids that are taking the New York state curriculum.”

For Rockville Centre, Johnson believes that students will be well-prepared for the new Regents. All 11th-grade students already take I.B. English, a program that Johnson says will prepare them for the more rigorous Regents.

“We understand and have studied extensively the Common Core,” he said. “We’re comfortable that, at least from the point of view from the standards that we use and are able to see, that it matches, to a large extent, what we currently do with I.B. So we’re very comfortable in recommending that the I.B. matches the expectations for all students graduating New York state schools who will be exposed to the Common Core.”