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Ask Judy: Regents exams in 8th grade?

Monday, 19 September 2011 12:24

Dear Judy,

I have 8th grade twins in middle school. One is in a combined Collaborative Team-Teaching/SP (honors) class and does not seem to have Regents classes in anything. The other is in a regular SP class and has Regents classes in Earth Science and math. How does whether you take the various Regents exams in 8th grade affect high school curriculums, high school choices, and does it eventually effect the college credit situation too? Can you clarify please? Thank you.

- Twins mother

Dear Twins mother,

If the twin in the CTT class has an IEP, it is crucial that you make sure that the high school he chooses will have the resources and modifications he needs to take the Regents exams. As Insideschools expert Clara Hemphill put it: "I think parents should insist that their child get the most demanding curriculum they can handle. The tendency for the school system is to lower promotional standards for kids with iEPs and as a result they just fall further and further behind. What parents need to do is demand that kids get the extra help they need to meet the higher standards. If the school cannot provide extra help, they can sometimes get the city to pay for private tutoring.

If an IEP is not the issue, then you should find out the school’s policy on offering 9th grade courses and Regents exams. Since there is an SP attached to the class name, what is offered to help kids make special progress? If it is Regents courses and exams, by all means question the principal why school policy does not offer Regents-level courses to the CTT class. Policy does vary among schools. Some promote the taking of early Regents exams, others do not. Some offer Regents to only one class.

SP aside, while it is nice for some 8th graders to have high school courses and credits, it is not a requirement. Most 8th graders do not go into high school having taken Regents exams.

Taking a Regents course and exam in middle school may give a leg up to those who want to take extra science and math courses to qualify for an Advanced Regents diploma, but many students who take all their Regents in high school manage to do that anyway. On the other hand, some students who do take Regents in middle school may be unprepared, do poorly, and be at a disadvantage when applying to high school, or end up taking upper level courses in high school for which they are not prepared.

New York State requires passing scores on five Regents exams in order to graduate. There is plenty of time to take the required courses and Regents exams during four years of high school. Taking Regents exams early has absolutely no effect on college admission and credit. Colleges want to see that a student has taken challenging courses, not when he took them. 

Bottom line: talk to the principal to determine the school policy and make sure both of your twins are getting what they need.

Good luck!



Last modified on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 16:06

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