Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What Happens To Regents Exams And Regents Grading If There's A Blizzard This Week?

UPDATE - 11:00 AM:: Getting a lot of hits on this post, with people looking for information on this afternoon's English Regents exam.

The exam WILL be given this afternoon AS SCHEDULED.

Only 1-3 inches of snow are expected to fall during the day today.

Right now, there are only flurries falling in Manhattan and there has been no noticeable accumulation of snow.

So, to repeat:

This afternoon's English Regents exam WILL be given AS SCHEDULED.

Stay tuned to your favorite news outlet for what happens tomorrow and Wednesday.

Original Post

Here's the forecast for Monday-Wednesday:

Lucky us, it's high stakes Regents exam week here in NY State, so this forecast, if accurate, is going to cause major disruptions for students and teachers.

The likelihood is that the Regents exams on Tuesday 1/27 will be cancelled due to snow, the exams scheduled for Monday 1/26 will go on as scheduled, though with snow already expected to be falling, with a diminished student turnout.  Hard to say what happens Wednesday 1/28, but there's the potential for impacts that day as well.

In any case, there looks like there will be major disruptions to the testing schedule regardless and this will have major consequences on both students and teachers.

Students who have spent time preparing for the ELA exam, the Global History exam, the U.S. History exam, Integrated Algebra exam - they're all looking at major snow impact this week.

I'm an ELA teacher and have been preparing my students for the ELA exam.

Chances are, the ELA Regents exam will go off as scheduled, since it's set for 12:45 PM tomorrow before the major snow onslaught.

There will be fewer students at the test, however, despite the brunt of the storm not expected until nighttime.

Some students will hear "Blizzard Warnings" on the TV and stay home, thinking that the test has been cancelled or that they'll cancel it for themselves since the weather's supposed to be so bad.

Nonetheless, we'll probably have a decent turnout tomorrow (especially because ELA teachers warned students that unless they hear from Mayor de Blasio that school is cancelled, they MUST come for the test), with just a few students staying home due to the weather.

Global History and Integrated Algebra teachers, however, are looking at a cancelled test on Tuesday and there may still be impacts to the schedule on Wednesday for the US History exam.

What does this mean for teachers whose evaluations are based on these tests?

Well, at the best of times, the grading of Regents exams are problematic.

Because teachers no longer grade exams in their own schools, the tests have to be delivered to grading centers around the city where teachers grade them both during the workday and for per session money after school hours.

I've graded exams the past few years both during the workday and for per session.

The ELA grading is usually pretty good because the test comes early in the Regents schedule and there's plenty of time for grading.

Global and US History Regents exams are often graded under duress, however, because they come slightly later in the schedule and there's a lot going on during the grading.

Last year, I saw a "Hurry Up" offense on the Global and US History Regents at the testing center that  forced teachers to run through stacks of tests as late as the night before the last day of school.

The grades were literally due the next day and some were for students who were supposed to graduate and needed the US History Regents score beforehand.

The teachers and the administrative staff at the center did the best job they could, under trying circumstances, to run through the grading as quickly as they could, but let's face it, that kind of "Hurry Up" on the grading CANNOT be good for accuracy.

So again, at the best of times, some of the Regents grading can be, er, shoddy.

Now let's add a major snowstorm to the mix - tests that still go off on Monday will have to be graded by the end of the week before the start of the new semester next week.

The ELA tests will be finished by Monday, they're scheduled to be picked up on Tuesday, delivered to the testing centers where teachers will arrive on Wednesday and work through the week grading them.

If the weather report is right, Tuesday's going to be a mess, there will be no picking up of exams and delivering them anywhere, and Wednesday may still be a bit of a mess, so while I would think schools will be opened then, I'm skeptical things will be back to normal.

That means the ELA exams won't get a serious day of grading until Thursday - leaving just two days of workday grading for the exams and four days of per session grading after school hours.

I guarantee you grading of the ELA exam will be done in a "Hurry Up" offense, with a lot of pressure placed on teachers and administrators to get the tests graded and the scores out to schools so they can get their Spring Semesters set.

That's the impact the storm may have on ELA.

The rest of the testing subjects?

If the storm is as bad as the map shows, God help them.

Given the importance of these tests to students (who cannot graduate without passing them and cannot get into a CUNY four year college without hitting the college readiness marks on the ELA and math tests), given the emphasis that is now put on test scores for teacher evaluations, with Governor Cuomo looking to make the scores count for 50% of a teacher's rating, is this the best way to handle Regents exam grading?

The governor and his education reformers like to make believe these test scores are sacrosanct, as if they've been delivered from the mount by Moses himself, that they are "objective" measures of student performance (and thus, teaching skill.)

The truth is, they are subjectively graded by teachers often under the duress of time constraints and long grading hours - that's at the best of times.

Throw in a major disruption like a potential blizzard and what you have is a chaotic mess that will result in scores that aren't worth the paper they're printed on.


  1. Replies
    1. Not great news - school closures during Regents week have major impacts on students, teachers and schools.

  2. What are you complaining about. Our Chancellor will tell us "it's a beautiful day" and expects you to show up to feed the students.

    1. If it's as beautiful as I think it's going be, we can all "Take in a show" with former Mayor Bloomberg.

  3. Its last algebra regents ever before common core what will they do if canceled.

  4. One more Integrated Algebra Regents in June 2015. See NYSED announcement:

    1. Yes, one more before it's all done. Still, students who have been preparing for this test on Tuesday are going to be hurt if this storm cancels school in NYC.

  5. If the Global Regents is cancelled Tuesday when will it be rescheduled because I need to take it to graduate from my school and graduation is before the June regents

    1. Some years ago, NYC schools were closed for snow on the day the US History Regents was being given.

      If I remember correctly, students who were affected by that school cancellation were given a waiver from having to pass the US History Regents.

      If you are set to graduate this month but are held up because snow cancels school on the day the Global Regents is given, I would hope you would be given the same leeway that students affected by the cancellation of school on the day the US History Regents was given some years ago.

      That would be my hope, but I can't say for certain that will be done.

    2. Okay thank you so much ive been studying really hard for this regents and i still want to take the test, but if they gave me a waiver that would be great

  6. Here's what happened in 2004. Seniors who wanted a local diploma didn't have to retake. You had to take it in June if you wanted a Regents diploma.

  7. What will happen for students with extended time, who may need to stay until 6pm or later?

    1. At this point, I can only tell you what NYCDOE is telling us - the Regents exam in the afternoon is on.

  8. what if my regions starts at 1pm today and I have extended time till 6pm. I wouldn't get home till 8 an the snow would already be in deep.

    1. I can only tell you what the DOE is telling us - Regents exam is being given this afternoon.

  9. What's going to happen to my global regents exam Tuesday (tomorrow) will they mark it as a pass Ive heard they they've done that in the past due to weather conditions.

    1. Nope - the tests that are cancelled tomorrow will be re-scheduled for Thursday.

      Here's the info from the DOE:

      Schools will be closed on Tuesday, January 27. Given the snow day, Regents exams will be rescheduled to Thursday. The subjects impacted are:

      Global History and Geography
      Integrated Algebra
      Comprehensive Testing in Writing (special education)
      Comprehensive in Mathematics (special education)

  10. When will the English regents grades be released