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Ask Judy: Foreign language Regents exams?

Tuesday, 07 September 2010 06:05

Dear Judy

I was wondering if you knew about the situation with some Regents exams being discontinued. I know that only a few language Regents are being kept, and the language I am taking isn't one of them. How can I get an Advanced Regents diploma?

Travis

As you know, in order to get an Advanced  Regents diploma you must have completed three years of a language other than English, and pass a Regents exam in that language. But many languages offered by the city high schools do not have Regents exams attached to them. This will not jeopardize your chance of earning an Advanced Regents diploma  (formally called a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation.)

According to Grace Pepe, Director of Assessment and Operations at the Department of Education, the "NYC Languages Other Than English" (LOTE) test is a Regents-like comprehensive examination offered in 15 languages for native language speakers in grades 11 and 12 and for students taking a course in one of these languages. The test is an option for earning Advanced Regents credits. The NYC LOTE is currently offered in Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Greek, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

However, there are now some languages that formerly offered Regents exams but no longer do – German, Latin, and Hebrew were just voted out as a cost cutting measure. Italian got a last minute reprieve, at least until the end of 2011;  Spanish and French Regents exams  are still given.

According to Steve Katz, director of the Office of State Assessment, the  New York State Education Department approves the use of the SAT II subject exams for Regents credit in several languages.  NYC could approve New York State substitutes for foreign language Regents but the city will likely provide its own exams, as they have in the past.

My advice:  Contact your principal or your assistant principal of foreign language for information on what exam you'll need to take after three years of language study. You can also read a Q&A covering current state requirements for earning LOTE credits, including modifications or exceptions for students with disabilities and students whose native language is not English.

According to Katz, there is an ongoing review of assessment in world languages that will result in recommendations for changes in testing to the Board of Regents. From what I hear, there is ongoing discussion about Regents assessments in all subjects: stay tuned for developments as we all race to the top – or at least to graduation.

Good luck for the new school year!

Judy

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