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Statement on Algebra Regents Exam Pass Rates

11.06.2015 | Pass rates fell dramatically last year for students who took the Algebra Regents exam. This happened in the midst of a shift to the Common Core and had a particularly profound effect on several at-risk student populations, including students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and students of color.

While many students struggled with the Common Core exams last year, the struggle was considerably greater for these students, as marked by their pass rates on the new exams. Graduation rates for these populations are already unacceptably low — 32.5% for students with disabilities, 36.6% for English Language Learners, 56.6% for Latino students, and 58.6% for Black students. The number of times some of these students must retake exams to pass has traditionally been quite high. We expect that graduation rates for these students will almost certainly fall as the students unable to pass the newly designed exams drop out, frustrated and feeling defeated.

We urge the State to take a serious look at providing alternate ways for students to demonstrate proficiency — something already done in several other states. Until they do, the educational crisis here in New York is likely to get worse as the higher cut scores go into effect in 2022, and the repercussions will prove significantly more costly than any gains made through the new exams. View statement as pdf