Regents exams were first called off in June 2020, following mass...

Regents exams were first called off in June 2020, following mass shutdowns of schools across the state amid the pandemic. Credit: Howard Schnapp

State education leaders expect to administer a full battery of Regents exams in June for the first time in three years, according to statements issued Tuesday and last week.

On Long Island, local school administrators described statements from state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa and others as clear signals that students and teachers once again must prep for the three-hour exams, following COVID-related disruptions that resulted in mass cancellations of past tests. Typically, students in secondary grades must pass four or five exams in order to earn Regents diplomas, indicating completion of some coursework at a college-prep level.

"The news is out, and we can start preparing students," said Lorna Lewis, superintendent of Malverne schools and a past president of the New York State Council of School Superintendents.

Lewis, in a phone interview, noted that many students enrolled in Regents-level courses have continued to experience disruptions in schooling this year — for example, during sporadic quarantines — and that the volume of disruptions has varied greatly from one district to another.

"I hope that the state will take that into consideration as they analyze results," Lewis said.

Here are schedules of upcoming exams posted on the state Education Department's website:

  • A newly revised "framework" exam in U.S. History and Government will be introduced statewide on June 1, in order to provide time for score collection and setting of a passing standard. Nine other tests in English, Global History, math and science will be given during the usual period from June 15 through June 23.
  • Nine exams in English, history, math and science will be administered statewide on Aug. 16 and 17.
  • In 2023, exams are scheduled for Jan. 24 through 27, June 14 through June 23 and Aug. 16 and 17.

The latest confirmation that the state planned to move ahead came Tuesday, at an Albany meeting attended by more than 300 superintendents and other local and regional leaders. Participants quoted Jim Baldwin, a senior deputy state commissioner for education policy, as saying, in answer to a question, that the department expected to give Regents exams in both June and August as scheduled.

Later in the day, the department's chief spokesperson, Emily DeSantis, sent Newsday a statement to the same effect. "Right now, with conditions as they are, the June and August Regents exams and other state assessment programs will go on as scheduled," DeSantis said.

Rosa had said much the same thing Friday in Melville, at a meeting of the Long Island Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, participants told Newsday.

The multiple confirmations came as a relief for school representatives, who had sought advance notice in order to prepare.

"It has been a question among superintendents, and this provides some clarity on what to expect," said Robert Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. The group sponsored Tuesday's conference in Albany.

Regents exams were first called off in June 2020, following mass shutdowns of schools across the state. That was quickly followed by cancellations in August, and again in January 2021.

Exams resumed last June but were limited to minimum federal testing requirements in English, algebra and basic science. Exams in upper-level math and science were not administered that month, and neither were tests in Global History or in U.S. History and Government.

For social studies educators, worried that history exams might be scrapped altogether, the announced resumption of testing was especially significant.

"I can't tell you how important it is for students to know about the past, in order to understand the present, so they can draw conclusions about the future," said Gloria Sesso, co-president of the Long Island Council for the Social Studies.

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