NYC Multiple Measures

K-12 Testing

Advocates from a coalition of New York City high schools have been battling State Education Commissioner Rick Mills and the State Board of Regents to obtain a variance from the requirement that all students pass five Regents exams to obtain a diploma.


Graduation from schools in the New York Performance Standards Consortium has long relied heavily on portfolios prepared by the students. The Consortium developed a set of common tasks for students to include in their portfolios. For years, the schools had a waiver from the state exit exam requirements, during which time they assembled evidence on the quality of their assessments. An independent panel of nationally prominent measurement experts recommended that Commissioner Mills grant a variance and continue to gather evidence (see Examiner, Fall 2001). When Mills and the Regents were unresponsive, the Consortium unsuccessfully went to court (see Examiner, Spring 2002).


Now the coalition has promoted legislation that would allow students in schools that formerly had the variance to take and pass only the English and math exams. Such students would have to meet other local graduation requirements.


The legislation also directs the Commissioner to develop a “portfolio performance-based alternative assessment which will measure an equivalent level of knowledge and skill” to the other required Regents exams. The portfolio assessments would be developed by 2008.


The Senate is expected to vote on the bill in April, while it is expected to clear the Assembly education committee in mid-April.


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