NEW YORK CITY — Nineteen New York City high schools want to ditch Regents exams as graduation requirements, as the state plans to make the tests more difficult, according to a report.
The schools recently applied to the state's Board of Regents to allow students to substitute a special, year-end project in place of passing five Regents tests as a requirement for graduation, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The schools want to join the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of 28 public high schools — 26 of them in New York City — whose students are already exempt from passing the Regents.
The substitution of student projects for standardized tests as a graduation requirement was first approved by the state in 1995, the Journal reported.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has supported the expansion of the consortium, as has Robert Jackson, chairman of the Council's Education Committee.
Proponents of alternate graduation requirements point to data showing consortium schools have higher four-year graduation rates — nearly 69 percent in 2008-09, compared to a city average of 59 percent that year, the Journal reported.
Consortium schools serve a similar demographic and rate of English language learners and students with disabilities as other public high schools in the city, according to a report released by the schools last month.
Those opposed to expanding the consortium said it was difficult to evaluate schools' performance without standardized tests, the Journal reported.