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Teacher Marisa Laks, center, works with students in 2014 ahead of a Regents exam the following week.

Teacher Marisa Laks, center, works with students in 2014 ahead of a Regents exam the following week.

Patrick Wall

New York cancels June Regents exams due to coronavirus

New York’s high school Regents exams scheduled for June will be canceled, Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa announced Monday. 

Students in New York must take five Regents exams to graduate from high school. Exams are also scheduled for August, but it’s not yet known whether those will be canceled. 

Districts will receive more guidance Tuesday on graduation standards, Rosa said during a virtual April Board of Regents meeting. That will include more clarity on August tests, according to the state education department.

The decision is not surprising. The state had previously canceled all standardized exams, including reading and math exams for students in grades 3-8, after receiving assurance that such a move would be approved by the federal government. Educators and elected officials have increasingly called for the exams to be canceled as districts remain closed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. They worry that students learning remotely will be ill-prepared for the tests. 

But canceling the exams also raises big questions about how students would be determined eligible to graduate from high school. 

The decision also comes at a particularly interesting time for the state education department, as officials re-evaluate what students should be required to do in order to graduate from high school. That study, which so far has involved officials talking to district educators across the state, could include an overhaul of the vaunted Regents exams. 

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