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Superintendent talks about prospect of Regents exams, learning loss

On Monday the State Board of Regents cancelled most exams while hoping that the federal government would give them the green light to eliminate the rest this year.

The Board of Regents voted unanimously to cancel all regents exams, but there are four tests mandates by the federal government scheduled for June.

They include ELA, Algebra 1, Earth Science, and Living Environment.

“It was disappointing to say the least to hear that the new administration was expecting schools to administer these exams this spring—even beyond the obvious logistical problems of doing this in a hybrid model, the last thing students and teachers need right now is more uncertainty,” South Seneca Superintendent Steve Zielinski said. “The idea of ‘standardization’ is supposed to be about a fair test administered under the same conditions for everyone, and given the variation of instructional models across the state this year, we are about as far away from standardization as can be. This is a year where we should be trusting our teachers to be doing reliable local assessments, which is exactly what they are doing.”

He spoke to the prospect of ‘learning loss’ during the pandemic, which has been one major concern for teachers across the state. “When it comes to the question of potential ‘learning loss’ during the pandemic, we are immediately faced with how we might measure such a thing,” Zielinski added. “Truthfully, our human brains are learning every day, and most of us in the 21st century are interacting with content all the time. Part of our learning progress is about maturation. To be sure, we worry about those who have struggled the most and have been disconnected from school, and if we can return to something closer to normal next year, we can’t wait to surround and support those students who are suffering in this model.”

It’s unclear at this point if the state might change its protocol for June.