Norwood students having trouble with regents

By Valerie Garofalo

A side view of The Bronx High School of Science  Photo By Valerie Garofalo

A side view of The Bronx High School of Science
Photo By Valerie Garofalo

Steven Rosa, a 16 year-old junior at The Bronx High School of Science, says “Regents are easy, they are just more work to add onto, they are tedious.” Rosa said he doesn’t need to study to pass the regents but he believes they are extra work.

Rosa who receives excellent grades, does not go through the same trouble that other students face as they take regents. Although Rosa says they are extra work, he has the ability to pass them when other students cannot.

The Norwood area has two high schools, The Bronx High School of Science and Dewitt Clinton High School. According to the New York State Department of Education website, Bronx Science had 3,017 students and Clinton had 4,417 in the last enrollment update
A few of their students shared their thoughts on the regent exams of how they add pressure and think that regents are not of much use

Regents are standardized tests given by New York State to high school students. Regents usually determine whether a student graduates and has reached the academic standards that New York State requires. New York is the only state in the United States that has regents and if a student decides to attend college outside of New York, regents have little value there. Other states have assessments in order to pass a class but they aren’t required as the regents.

“I feel like regents don’t make sense, because a test doesn’t tell how smart you are,” said Insha Khalil, a Clinton sophomore who believes regent exams shouldn’t determine your academic level if you work hard to maintain a passing grade and become involved in school activities.

According to school ratings by the New York Department of Education, Clinton and Bronx Science have opposite performance ratings. Bronx Science received an A rating while Clinton received an F. The high school ratings lead to their regent grades as schools with better school ratings score higher regent grades. School ratings are based on student progress, performance, environment, and college readiness.

The Department of Education’s rating for Bronx Science is about twice as high as Clinton’s.

Bronx Science is a specialized high school in the Norwood area that requires an entrance exam. The exam contains specialized math and English questions. Clinton does not require any type of entrance exam.

Clinton Students from left to right:Siria Trochez, , Scarlett Rodriguez, Insha Khalil Andrew Persaud Photo By Valerie Garofalo

Clinton Students
from left to right:Siria Trochez, , Scarlett Rodriguez, Insha Khalil Andrew Persaud
Photo By Valerie Garofalo

“Since nobody else takes the regents, colleges don’t really look at it,” said Siria Trochez, the 14 year-old DeWitt Clinton sophomore, referring to the fact that the exams only matter in New York State. She added, “It’s just making us do way more work and then if we fail we have to go to summer school. I don’t see other states doing that.”

Regents have been an issue for Trochez as she says her school mainly focuses on regents even though she does not plan to stay in New York for college. “Instead of practicing soccer I have to study for the regents that only guarantee graduation,” Trochez complained.
Regent exams in New York were created to “encourage academic education,” according to the New York State Education Department’s website. Regents were optional to take when the Local High School Diploma existed, but now students are required to graduate high school with a regent diploma. New York State decided to require regents to raise students’ academic levels. In the Norwood area of the Bronx, there has been a low passing grade in the regent exams, particularly at Clinton High School, where students had a harder time graduating.

“I feel like the Norwood area needs to create a program for their local students that lack in passing regent exams,” said Rosa, the Bronx Science student, “a program that helps them out if schools aren’t doing any justice.”

Claudia Alzate, a middle and high school teacher residing in the Norwood area said “I think NY has given students more testing than what is necessary with all the SATs and keeping up with their GPA,” Alzate said. “The point of school is to become a critical thinker but if students only study for a test that really doesn’t help them develop into critical thinkers.”

To the many Norwood who have been failing the regents, Alzate offered some advice.
“The best resource a student can have is their parent’s support,” she said. “Their parents need to be informed on the regents and there should be a workshop for parents to help their children excel on the regents.”

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