All Regents English Implementation Exercise

David Wiles, University at Albany

In Spring 1996, the New York Board of Regents voted (unanimously) to require an all Regents secondary curriculum in every public school system in the state. The Regents secondary curriculum is subject driven, with state syllabi and year end examinations administered in each of thirteen curriculum content areas. There are also 700+ public school districts, some with more than one high school.

The actual implementation process is to be phased in between the 1996-1997 and the year 2003. There are four distinct phases of implementation: pilot, pilot scaled up, pilot for readability and validity and coming on-line. The present Regents subjects of highest priority for implementation are to be compressed into seven areas; English Language Arts Regents, Math A Regents, Math B Regents, Science Regents, Math, Science and Technology Integrated Projects Regents, and Social Studies Regents. Full implementation Regents curricula will also be developed for the Arts, Health/Home Ec/PE, Languages Other Than English and Occupational and Technical Studies. In each case, the State Education Department develops a draft syllabus of Learning Standards that is circulated state wide for comments and revisions, then republished and sent to the schools.

English Language Arts will be the first Regents subject mandated for all students in each secondary setting. The 1996-1997 academic year is its "pilot for readability and validity" phase with the expectation of full "on-line" status the following academic year. At another part of the Eaps 760 Web Page you will find the Learning Standards for English Language Arts with statements of Commencement Level expectations and an illustration of student performance that meets that expectation.

The Exercise

From an educational management perspective the implementation of any state wide reform agenda is a daunting task. This is especially true when the reform measure is a modification of existing practice and precedent and not a new condition. Implementation must start with the current situation New York public schools find themselves in . Assuming a " bell curve" of previous performance it is likely that problems of full state wide implementation will "cluster" in those districts already above the threshold of any anticipated "improvement" and in those districts that either have no present Regents program (by choice) or have performed so poorly in the past that they see no chance of meeting the Board of Regents expectation.

In the case of implementing each Regents subject there are two sub questions of evaluating successful compliance to the Board of Regents expectations. First, the present meaning of successfully passing the year end examination in any Regents subject is 65 percent. If your district has received a variance, it is possible that students scoring between 50 and 64 can be "counted" as passing the equivalent of a basic competency test in the content area and be eliminated from the Regents subject.
On the other end of the spectrum there are many educators that argue that 65 percent is not an evaluation of exemplary or high performance. This is especially true in conventional Regents subject areas like Comprehensive English where many k-12 districts look to 80 or 85 percent passing as a minimum quality standard.

Second, if the ultimate desire of the Board of Regents is to have each secondary student taking Regents curricula and all passing a standard examination process, then the meaning of full implementation depends upon the numbers of children in class and being examined. Currently, large numbers of secondary students avoid taking Regents courses altogether and some that do sit through the class do not take the year end examination.
The State Education Department uses a composite statistic called the " percent of average enrolled passing" as a measure of who are Regents performers. Each Regents subject is assumed to be equivalent to a single school grade (e.g., Comprehensive English and the 9th Grade). To compile the "average" statistic, the number of children in Grades 9-12 are divided by four, then one-fourth is formed into a ratio with the number of children in the Regents subjects that successfully pass the year end examination. There is no weighting or compensation for the fact that ninth grades are usually larger than twelfth grades due to dropouts and attrition. There is no concession to the very small school district that may create "critical masses" of small numbers of children regardless of their particular secondary grade. In any case, the "percent of average enrolled passing" will likely be the statistic used in state wide reporting of the status of All Regents implementation.

Exercise One:

The following chart lists the seventy k-12 districts in the state that had more than 80 percent or four fifths of their "average enrolled" secondary students passing the Regents Comprehensive English examination in 1994-1995. (there were 235 districts that scored 65% or better in average enrolled passing). The districts that registered more than 100% students passing (e.g., Schroon Lake, Brookfield, Averill Park, Prattsburg, Johnsburg) are likely "critical mass" districts. Information is also given on the Regents Diploma productivity for the 1994-1995 year,. You will notice several districts with very low or zero Regents Diploma percents although they are in the high passing English subject group of jurisdictions. There is also an accumulation of Regents points derived from a study by the author (see Highest Performing Districts on Eaps 760 Web page) and the total k-12 enrollment for the district. Students may wish to calculate the secondary school portion of enrollment as one-third (twelfths) and the more realistic (one-fourth) of all students.

First question:
How would you subdivide and network these districts to increase the percentages of "average enrolled passing" English Language Arts to one hundred percent?

Second Question:
How would you study what these districts do to change their present Comprehensive English curriculum to meet the "evidence of growth" (range, flexibility, connections, conventions and independence) at the elementary, intermediate and commencement levels of English Language Arts expectations?

Third Question:
Assume you are the principal of the secondary school in any of the districts listed. How would you relate the improvement efforts in the English Language Arts to productivity of Regents Diplomas and facilitating the full implementation of an all Regents secondary program by 2003?

Districts With More Than Four Fifths of Average Grade Enrollment Passing Regents English
English %
Regs Dips
North ColonieAlbany 8268.824.5 5073
VoorheesvilleAlbany 8353.720.0 1282
VestalBroome81 61.018.54295
WeedsportCayuga88 49.311.51049
Bainbridge-GuilfChenango 8141.3 4.5 1198
ChathamColumbia80 48.910.01550
SidneyDelaware85 41.7 4.51597
RhinebeckDutchess83 54.2 7.01227
ClarenceErie81 41.3 8.03611
Lake PlacidEssex93 47.6 7.5 828
MinervaEssex82 80.010.0 157
Schroon LakeEssex133 47.4 5.0 291
WestportEssex84 41.713.5 287
LeRoyGenesee84 52.5 7.01492
Town of WebbHerkimer 10072.216.5 395
LymeJefferson83 44.0 8.0 395
General BrownJefferson 8653.9 5.5 1716
South Lewis Jefferson 8941.9 0.5 1494
CopenhagenLewis93 68.4 6.5 663
LowvilleLewis84 58.812.51602
BrookfieldMadsion111 46,7 6.0 269
BrockportMonroe80 46.7 4.04728
PittsfordMonroe92 76.530.05154
Bellmore-MerrickNassau 8064.622.0 4709
Carle PlaceNassau95 53.714.01468
Garden CityNassau90 76.138.03044
Great NeckNassau86 70.128.05462
Hewlett-WoodNassau81 56.017.52882
HicksvilleNassau81 45.2 6.04438
JerichoNassau97 72.734.02105
Locust ValleyNassau 9562.916.5 1976
ManhassetNassau83 63.729.02258
Oyster BayNassau84 57.916.51329
Rockville CtrNassau 8167.633.5 3220
RoslynNassau83 65.332.02489
SeafordNassau83 61.116.02317
SyossetNassau82 67.134.05277
RemsenOneida81 38.8 6.0 674
Jamesville-DeWOnondaga 8064.823.5 2402
SkateatelesOnondaga 8165.519.0 1732
West GeneseeOnondaga 8758.7 9.0 4775
HoneoyeOntario96 41.2 6.51032
VictorOntario80 54.7 7.02858
Cornwall`Orange81 53.611.52475
MahopacPutnam83 51.217.54046
Averill ParkRensselaer 12954.4 9.0 2918
East GreenbushRensselaer 8056.8 4.0 4444
Pearl RiverRockland 9162.814.0 1900
Burnt HillsSaratoga 8362.613.0 3340
PrattsburgSteuben 42.4 8.0 541 108
Cold Spr. Harbor Suffolk 9369.632.0 1480
Fishers IslandSuffolk 8320.010.5 66
Half Hollow HillsSuffolk 8370.433.0 7069
Kings ParkSuffolk83 57.920.03142

English %
Regs Dips
MattituckSuffolk96 52.212.51258
Mt. SinaiSuffolk82 66.721.02077
Shelter IslandSuffolk 9060.016.5 241
SoutholdSuffolk 10053.116.5 792
Three Village Suffolk 8066.826.5 6777
JohnsburgWarren 10744.4 4.0 419
SalemWashington84 21.0 4.5 861
WayneWayne84 78.020.52692
ArdsleyWestchester81 66.728.01657
Bryam HillsWestchester 85 0.919.5 1879
IrvingtonWestchester 81 0.010.0 1206
MamaroneckWestchester 80 0.0 9.5 3749
North Salem Westchester 8144.8 9.5 1073
PelhamWestchester91 51.316.01759
Rye NeckWestchester 8146.0 3.0 1065
TuckahoeWestchester 8533.9 8.5 980

Exercise Two:

In 1994-1995 there were fifty nine k-12 districts that reported thirty five or less percent of their "average enrolled" students in Regents Comprehensive English passed the year end test. The chart below lists the districts along with information on Regents Diploma productivity, accumulation of Regents Points and k-12 enrollment.

Question One:
A district with zero or very low percent of students passing Regents Comprehensive English, zero Regents diplomas given yet high overall Regents points(e.g., Brighton, Blind Brook. Chappeaqua, Herricks) represents a different "all Regents implementation" policy issue than districts with low or zero English passing, marginal Regents diploma production and low overall Regents points(e.g., Franklin, Livonia, West Babylon, Jefferson-Youngsville). How would you convince both groupings of districts to work on improving their 1996-1997 Regents English Language Arts activity toward 100 percent passing?

Question Two:
Large k-12 districts like Buffalo, Rochester, Mount Vernon and Schenectady had between 20 and 35 percent of their "average enrolled students passing" Regents Comprehensive English in 1994-1995. New York City district would also be in this group. To what extent are these low percents due to the large numbers of students possibly involved in Regents activity and the numbers of building sites where such activity would take place? What special implementation efforts must be made to promote Regents English Language Arts toward 100 percent passing?

Question Three:
Very small districts like Oppenheim-Ephratah, Limestone, Bradford, St. Regis Falls, Morris, Livingston Manor, St. Johnsville and Eldred had between 20 and 35 percent of their "average enrolled students passing" Regents Comprehensive English in 1994-1995. To what extent are these low percents due to the large numbers of students possibly involved in Regents activity ? What special implementation efforts must be made to promote Regents English Language Arts toward 100 percent passing?

Districts With Less Than 35 Percent of Average Grade Enrollment Passing Regents English
English %
Regs Dips
FranklinDelaware0 29.22.0 412
BrightonMonroe0 1.0 20.5 3000
Blind BrookWestchester 00.0 13.0 846
BronxvilleWestchester 00.07.0 1078
ChappeaquaWestchester 00.0 15.03022
Croton-HarmonWestchester 047.27.0 1133
LivoniaLivingston1 41.20.02165

English %
Regs Dips
West BabylonSuffolk1 40.02.54215
Jefferson-YongvilSullivan 223.52.0 836
Hendrix HudsonWestchester 450.87.0 2287
HerricksNassau5 5.2 25.0 3487
LiverpoolOnondaga5 55.0 11.0 9630
RooseveltNassau7 0.90.02955
Miller PlaceSuffolk8 53.4 16.5 2665
DownsvilleDelaware9 50.00.0 349
CatskillGreene10 36.10.51717
SchoharieSchoharie11 36.60.01308
WyandachSuffolk12 3.00.02127
GouveneurSt. Lawrence 1348.41.0 2061
NewarkWayne13 57.42.02891
SchalmontSchenectady 1360.84.0 2296
WhitesvilleAlleghany 1528.63.5 324
EdgemontWestchester15 0.08.51397
HempsteadNassau15 3.41.05483
MilfordOtsego17 38.75.5 480
CommackSuffolk19 67.5 21.5 5669
GalwaySaratoga19 56.16.51209
West ValleyCattaragus 1970.86.0 441
PeekskillWestchester 2029.60.0 2481
Brushton-MoriahFranklin 2216.73.0 961
RochesterMonroe23 18.40.0 34711
FrewsburgChautaugua23 37.30.01059
HomerCortland23 46.81.52648
MarathonCortland24 33.30.51032
White PlainsWestchester 2536.32.0 5575
Oppenheim-EphrFulton 2630.80.0 549
Port BryonCayuga26 26.22.01335
LimestoneCattaragus26 12.51.5 244
DoverDutchess26 35.11.54291
WellsHamilton27 21.13.5 209
SchenectadySchenectady 2732.50.0 7910
BradfordSteuben30 33.32.0 330
Northport-E. NorSuffolk 3054.99.5 5197
West HempsteadNassau 3042.43.0 2187
FranklinvilleCattaragus 3140.30.5 958
NortheastDutchess31 42.93.51085
Mount VernonWestchester 3214.70.0 9609
St. Regis FallsFranklin 3214.84.0 390
BuffaloErie33 21.70.0 46083
MiddletownOrange33 46.40.55392
MorrisOtsego33 48.9 11.0 461
SalamancaCattaragus33 28.91.01535
DundeeYates34 59.22.52165
FallsburghSullivan34 44.81.01367
PoughkeepsieDutchess 3433.30.0 3884
Livingston ManorSullivan 3436.64.0 735
RensselaerRensselaer 3433.30.5 1012
St. JohnsvilleMontgomery 3546.80.0 603
EldredSullivan35 65.89.0 707