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Changes to Global History and Geography Regents Exam under consideration

COCOEN daily photos via Flickr

For a while now, getting through high school has meant getting through all five of those all-important Regents Exams. But that may be changing.

Amidst an ongoing discussion about how to get more kids to graduation through different pathways, the Board of Regents may be making some changes.

And those changes have a lot to do with one specific exam – The Global History and Geography exam. Unlike other Regents Exams, this one takes place after two full years of cumulative study.

“It’s been a real challenge if you look at the pass rates. The pass rate for the Global History and Geography Regents Test is somewhere around ten to twelve points lower than the English, Math, Science, and the US History exam,” says Regents Board Vice Chancellor Anthony Bottar.

The Board is now considering a few recommendations made to them recently by the State Education Department about how to deal with the exam.

One of them is to make the test optional. An option Marcellus Global Studies teacher Kathy DeForge isn’t too keen on. DeForge thinks that the blame is being put in the wrong place.

“I think the reason that people are saying they’re failing that exam is not the amount of content, it’s the reading and writing that kids do. I think they’re focusing the blame on the wrong problem,” she says.

A popular option among the Board is to split the exam into two separate tests.

But some, like West Genesee Superintendent Chris Brown – don’t see how that’s feasible.

“I don’t know how you can add another course with another exam when everybody at the state is cutting back – it just logically doesn’t fit with me,” he says.

The Board will meet again in June to discuss the options in more detail. And if they get more information about the cost of doing so, they may even vote on splitting the exam up.