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Policy & Initiatives

Coalition Activities and Public Comments

Coalition Activities and Public Comments

2017

The Coalition Makes Recommendations Regarding Performance-Based Assessments
Performance-based assessments, or PBAs, are a method of determining student proficiency wherein students complete specific tasks, projects, or portfolios of relevant work that demonstrate their knowledge in the subject. Thoughtfully developed and meaningfully implemented, PBAs at the high school level can provide a more fair and reliable alternative to the New York State Regents Exams. The Coalition has created a handout [PDF] summarizing the benefits of PBAs as well as guiding principles that may inform development in New York State.

The Coalition Makes Recommendations Regarding the 2017-2018 State Budget
The Coalition supports the Board of Regents' request for $8 million in the 2017-2018 budget to finance the piloting of performance-based assessments as alternatives to high school Regents exams. In addition, the Coalition urges renewal of the $1 million in funding for eliminating barriers to CTE programs for English Language Learners and students with disabilities. View our 2017 Budget Priorities [PDF].

The Coalition Comments on the Regents Exam Work Group Recommendations
In January 2017, the Coalition wrote to Chancellor Rosa and Commissioner Elia to request that SED move forward with reviewing the current set of graduation requirements, as recommended by the Regents Exam Workgroup, and resume discussion of multiple pathways to a diploma more generally. Read the letter [PDF].

2016

The Coalition Comments on the Superintendent Determination Pathway to Graduation for Students with Disabilities
In August 2016, the Coalition submitted comments [PDF] to the New York State Education Department on the superintendent determination as to academic proficiency for certain students with disabilities to graduate with a local diploma. In November 2016, the Coalition also submitted comments [PDF] on the revised regulations.

The Coalition Urges New York State to Apply to Participate in the U.S. Department of Education Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority Program
In September 2016, the Coalition wrote to Commissioner Elia, encouraging NYSED to submit an application to participate in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority program and to include the development of high school performance-based assessments as part of its application. Read the letter [PDF].

The Coalition Comments on Proposed Changes to the Process for Appealing Regents Exam Scores
In May 2016, the Coalition submitted comments [PDF] to the New York State Education Department in support of the expansion of the eligible score band for the appeals process on Regents exams passing scores.

The Coalition Comments on Multiple Pathways Proposals
In response to the multiple pathways proposals presented at the January Board of Regents meeting, the Coalition wrote to Commissioner Elia and made several recommendations for SED to consider in its review of alternative pathways to a high school diploma. Read the letter [PDF].

2015

The Coalition Makes Recommendations Regarding the 2016-2017 State Aid Proposal 
In September and December 2015, the Coalition wrote to the Board of Regents regarding the 2016-2017 State Aid Proposal, encouraging them to include funding to support CTE and expand student access to the coursework required to pursue a 4+1 pathway to a diploma. Read the September letter [PDF] and the December letter [PDF].

The Coalition Comments on the Proposed Extension of the Appeal Process for Students with Disabilities 
In November 2015, the Coalition submitted comments [PDF] to the New York State Education Department on the proposed amendment to regulations regarding graduation requirements to extend the appeals process for the safety net local diploma for students with disabilities. 

The Coalition Writes to the New York State Commissioner of Education Regarding Project-Based Assessments and the 4+1 Pathway to a Diploma
In September, the Coalition wrote to the New York State Education Commissioner in response to the announcement that NYSED will be exploring project-based assessments as an option for students with disabilities who are unable to pass the Regents exams after one or more attempts; the Coalition urged SED to broaden the scope of the review so that all students who struggle with Regents exams are given the opportunity to access project-based assessments. In October, the Coalition wrote to the Commissioner regarding the 4+1 pathway to a diploma, specifically the status of SED's review and identification of additional approved assessments and the lack of access to required coursework. Read the September letter [PDF] and the October letter [PDF].

The Coalition Makes Recommendations Regarding the Board of Regents' Testing Reduction Report
In May 2015, the Coalition wrote two letters [PDF] urging the Chancellor and Board of Regents to address modifications to the Regents exam requirements as part of their report on reducing state testing and improving test quality.

The Coalition Issues an Updated Policy Brief on Career and Technical Education (CTE)
In January 2015, the Coalition issued an updated policy brief [PDF] identifying barriers to CTE instruction for students with disabilities and ELLs and providing recommendations to SED and the Board of Regents for creating accessible CTE programs that will benefit these students.

2014

The Coalition Submits Public Comments on Proposals for a "4 + 1" Pathway and an ELL Appeal
In December 2014, the Coalition submitted comments [PDF] in response to the New York State Education Department’s proposed amendment to introduce a “4 + 1” pathway to a New York State high school diploma. The Coalition also submitted comments [PDF] in response to the proposal to allow English Language Learners who entered the U.S. during high school to graduate with a Local Diploma by appealing English Regents Exam scores between 55 and 61.

The Coalition Responds to the 2015 – 2016 Regents State Aid Proposal
In November 2014, the Coalition wrote a letter [PDF] encouraging the Board of Regents to consider the needs of students with disabilities and ELLs when developing a CTE aid package and to include provisions that support improved access to high-quality CTE programs for all students.

The Coalition Testifies Before the New York State Assembly Committee on Education Regarding CTE
On July 16, 2014, AFC testified before the New York State Assembly Committee on Education regarding Career and Technical Education (CTE) in New York State (NYS). To respond to the graduation crisis in NYS, we must create both instructional and assessment pathways that take into account the postsecondary aspirations and learning styles of all students. We believe CTE can play a major role in this endeavor, especially as part of a broader system of multiple pathways to graduation. Unfortunately, many students have been limited in gaining access to CTE programs, particularly students with disabilities and English Language Learners. It is our hope that A.8189A/S.5966A begins to open doors to quality CTE programs for all students. Our testimony [PDF] discusses considerations this legislation must address. 

The Coalition Responds to the Board of Regents' and State Education Department's Discussion of Pathways to Graduation
In June 2014, the Coalition wrote to the Board of Regents and SED and asked the State to develop a more expansive and inclusive array of assessment pathways in addition to maximizing access for all students to those instructional pathways outlined in SED's presentation at the May Regents meeting. In July and again in September, the Coalition reiterated concerns that for the 25% of New York State students who do not graduate within four years, the alternatives being considered will still leave them without options for graduation. Click on the links to view the June letter [PDF], the July letter [PDF], and the September letter [PDF].

The Coalition Holds a Policy Briefing on Rethinking Pathways to Graduation in New York State
On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma sponsored a policy briefing [PDF] in Albany with State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and Senator John Flanagan to discuss the current graduation crisis in New York State and opportunities for offering alternative pathways to a diploma. At the briefing, which was co-sponsored by State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and Senator John Flanagan, parents and students shared their experiences with New York State's high-stakes exit exams. Advocates, educators, and service providers also offered recommendations for instructional models that can help at-risk students graduate and alternatives to the high-stakes exit exams that currently serve as barriers to graduation. View a PowerPoint presentation [PDF] from the policy briefing with more data on graduation rates.

2013

The Coalition Releases a Report Calling on New York State to Rethink Pathways to Graduation
On December 12, 2013, the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma released a report, Rethinking Pathways to High School Graduation in New York State: Forging New Ways for Students to Show Their Achievement of Standards [PDF], prepared by Advocates for Children of New York. The report examined the difficulties that high stakes standardized exit exams pose for many students and addressed the need for more flexible exam requirements and assessment-based pathways to a diploma. The report outlined several recommendations for the State to improve access to a high school diploma while maintaining high standards that ensure college or career readiness. 

The Coalition Submits Public Comment on the Regents Research Paper Proposal
On October 31, 2013, the Coalition submitted comments [PDF] to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in response to a proposal to require high school students to complete a Regents Research Paper in order to graduate with a Regents or local diploma.

The Coalition Issues a Call to Action for the Creation of Diploma Pathways that Meet the Needs of the Diversity of Students in New York State
In August 2013, the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma released a Call to Action fact sheet [PDF] that provided statistics regarding the loss to students’ future earnings and the costs to society when students are unable to earn a high school degree. 

The Coalition Submits Public Comments on the Proposed CDOS Commencement Credential and Certificate of Work Readiness
On February 11, 2013, the Coalition submitted comments [PDF] to NYSED opposing the proposed Regents Certificate of Work Readiness. The Coalition believes that limiting the Certificate to students with disabilities runs counter to the goal of increasing access for these students to college and careers and discriminates against these students. On June 7, 2013, the Coalition submitted comments [PDF] on a proposed amendment to the regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to a New York State Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential for students with disabilities.

The Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma Identifies Evidence of Potential Barriers to CTE Instruction for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners
In January 2013 and again in March 2013, the Coalition presented evidence to the Board of Regents and New York State Career and Technical Education (CTE) Assessment Review Panel of the potential barriers to CTE instruction for students with disabilities and English Language learners. The Coalition believes that work-based learning and career and technical education can be a more effective way to keep students engaged in school and provide pathways to a diploma and higher education and/or a career. In particular, CTE instruction offers significant benefits to students with disabilities and ELLs. However, many barriers continue to prevent these students from accessing rigorous, high-quality CTE programs in NYS and elsewhere. The Coalition provided the Panel with recommendations [PDF] for creating CTE programs that will benefit ALL students. 

2012

The Coalition Submits Comments Regarding the Safety Net for Students with Disabilities
On November 30, 2012, the Coalition submitted comments [PDF] regarding the safety net for students with disabilities. The Coalition agreed the revised proposed amendments to Section 100.5 rightfully recognized that students have different modes of learning and offered flexibility for some students who have difficulties with certain exams. However, the Coalition filed its comments in opposition because a safety net with a compensatory model does not go far enough to establish meaningful alternatives for students who cannot adequately demonstrate their knowledge and skills on standardized tests, but can show proficiency through other rigorous forms of assessment.

The Coalition Supports New York State Senate Bill 7331 and New York State Assembly Bill 10367 to Extend the Availability of the Local Diploma
In June 2012, the Coalition issued a memorandum [PDF] in support of Senate Bill 7331, introduced by Senator Flanagan, and Assembly Bill 10367, introduced by Assemblyman Magnarelli, which would make the local diploma available to all students entering the ninth grade prior to the 2013-2014 school year and require the State Education Department to hold public hearings on creating multiple pathways to a high school diploma. The bills can be seen here.

The Coalition Issues a Call to Action to Keep the Local Diploma for All Students until Real Alternatives Exist
In May 2012, the Coalition issued a Call to Action [PDF] and initiated an online petition, asking New Yorkers to voice their concerns about eliminating the local diploma for general education students before new pathways to a diploma exist.

The Coalition Issues Impact Statement about the Elimination of the Local Diploma
In March 2012, the Coalition released a statement [PDF] that estimated as many as 14,000 general education students still relied on the local diploma to graduate and were, therefore, not likely to graduate in June. Students of color and English Language Learners would be disproportionally affected.

The Coalition Issues Its Preliminary Recommendations for Creating Multiple Pathways to a Diploma
On January 17, 2012, the Coalition released its preliminary recommendations [PDF] for creating additional pathways to a diploma and sent them to the Board of Regents and the State Education Department. A letter [PDF] to Commissioner John King accompanied the recommendations.

pre-2012

The Coalition Asks that New York Retain the Local Diploma Until it Develops Alternatives
In March 2011, members of the Coalition wrote a letter [PDF] to the Board of Regents and the State Education Department to ask that the local diploma be retained until alternative pathways to graduation are established. 

The Coalition Broadens Its Focus and Develops Its Platform
In January 2011, the State announced its intention to revisit New York’s graduation requirements, and the Coalition decided to focus on graduation requirements and diploma options more broadly. The Coalition also grew in membership at this time and developed a platform [PDF]. 

AFC Warns that Eliminating the Local Diploma Will Limit Opportunities for Young People
In October 2010, Advocates for Children of New York released a report, More than a Statistic: Faces of the Local Diploma [PDF], which profiled young people who graduated with a local diploma and used it to access post-secondary opportunities. The paper called for the development of alternative pathways to graduation.

AFC Calls for Reform of the IEP Diploma
In 2007, AFC sent a letter [PDF] to the State Education Department demanding reform of the IEP diploma because its misuse contributed to students with disabilities leaving school without graduating. A diverse roster [PDF] of organizations and individuals joined AFC in making these demands.