November 14, 2003
Q&A on Revisions to Graduation and Diploma Requirements
[Policy adopted by the Board of Regents in October 2003 and amendments to Section 100.5 of the Commissioner's Regulations approved on November 14, 2003]
Q. What is the revised Regents policy concerning the 55-64 low-pass option on Regents exams?
A. The Regents extended the local option of accepting a passing score between 55 and 64 on required Regents exams to meet local diploma requirements. By extending this option, students and schools will have more time to improve achievement and build their capacity to move the system forward to a 65 passing score on required Regents exams.
Q. For which classes of students does the extension apply?
A. The 55-64 low-pass option will be in effect for all students now in high school (students entering grade 9 in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003) and for those students entering grade 9 in fall 2004. Prior to the October 2003 action by the Regents, students who entered grade 9 in 2000 were required to score 65 on three required Regents exams (English, U.S. History and Government, and Global History and Geography), with the low-pass option available on two Regents exams (Mathematics and Science).
Q. How does the extended low-pass option affect students who entered high school prior to 2000 but are still enrolled in high school?
A. Students must meet the graduation requirements in effect for their entering grade 9 class. The requirement to take and pass five Regents exams was phased in beginning in 1996 by subject area, along with the low-pass option to earn a local diploma.
Q. When will students be expected to achieve 65 as the passing score on the required Regents exams?
A. The Regents will continue to monitor student performance and publicly report on schools that do and do not get to 65. They will revisit their policy on the 55-64 option in two years. The amendment to Section 100.5 of the Commissioner's Regulations approved by the Regents on November 14 is in effect for all students currently in high school and for those students entering grade 9 in fall 2004.
Q. How does the extension of the 55-64 low-pass option affect the issuance of local diplomas?
A. Since students must achieve a passing score of 65 or above to earn a Regents diploma, schools will be able to issue local diplomas during the extended period to students who score between 55-64 on any of the required Regents exams, i.e., for students who entered grade 9 prior to September 2005.
Q. What are the diploma requirements for current seniors (students who entered grade 9 in 2000)?
A. Current seniors may earn a local diploma by achieving a score of 55-64 on the five (5) required Regents exams (English, Mathematics, U.S. History and Government, Global History and Geography, and Science), if the school district offers this option. Current seniors may receive a Regents diploma if they pass eight (8) required Regents exams (former five plus an additional Science, Mathematics and a Language Other than English) with a score of 65 or above. Seniors must also continue to earn 20.5 units of credit.
Q. How do the diploma requirements differ for students who enter grade 9 in 2001 and prior to 2005?A. Students may earn a local diploma by achieving a score of 55-64 on the five required Regents exams, if the school district offers this option. They may earn a Regents diploma if they achieve a score of 65 or higher on the five required Regents exams.
Q. Will the Regents diploma with advance designation still be available for students who entered grade 9 in 2001 and thereafter?
A. Yes. Students who entered grade 9 in 2001 or later may earn a Regents diploma with advanced designated if they score 65 or above on eight required Regents exams and earn 22 units of credit.
Q. Will local districts still be able to award a student a Regents diploma with honors or a Regents diploma with advanced designation with honors?
A. Yes. A local school district may award a Regents diploma with honors or a Regents diploma with advanced designation with honors to students who achieve an average of 90 percent in all Regents examinations, or their equivalent, required for the diploma. The Regents action in November 2003 did not modify this current provision in regulations.
Q. Does the extension of the low-pass option affect sequence requirements?
A. No. Sequence requirements have been phased out for students entering grade 9 in 2001 or later.
Q. Must local boards of education adopt a new resolution to allow the low-pass option to issue local diplomas?
A. Boards of education must adopt a new resolution if they want to change their policy or extend current policy.
Q. May local boards of education limit the low-pass option to specific Regents examinations?
A. Yes. However, students who score between 55-64 on any required Regents examination may only earn a local diploma.
Q. May local boards of education limit the low-pass option to certain groups of students, i.e., students with disabilities?
A. No. The 55-64 low-pass option would have to be made available to all students.
Q. What action did the Board of Regents take concerning the safety net for students with disabilities?
A. The Regents extended the safety for students with disabilities who enter grade 9 through fall 2009. Under this safety net, students with disabilities who do not pass a Regents exam must take and pass the corresponding Regents Competency Test to earn a local diploma. These students will take the coursework to prepare them for the Regents exam and take the Regents exam. However, they may take the Regents Competency Test prior to taking the Regents exam.
Q. Can schools use the low-pass option for students with disabilities?
A. Yes. If students with disabilities score 55-64 on the five required Regents exams, they may earn a local diploma and will not have to take the corresponding Regents Competency Test.
Q. How does the change in Regents policy affect the provision of academic intervention services (AIS)?A. Schools must still provide AIS to students who are at risk of not achieving the standards.