The state Education Department on Tuesday canceled the June Regents exam in U.S. history and government because it contained content that “has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo.”
A statement to educators from state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said that officials have been reviewing all Regents exams scheduled for June as part of the department’s efforts to support students and schools after the May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo.
“In the wake of the Buffalo tragedy, it is not appropriate to administer the exam with a question that could compound the grief and hardship faced by our school communities,” said Emily DeSantis, spokesperson for the department.
The Education Department did not describe the content in question.
The U.S. history exam, which was to be administered on June 1, was developed more than two years ago, Rosa’s statement said. There isn’t time to modify the exam or produce a new one, she said.
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The state Board of Regents will likely decide at its June meeting that students who would otherwise pass their U.S. history course can get graduation credit without taking the corresponding Regents exam. This exemption would likely apply to students who were planning to take the same Regents exam in August or in January 2023.
The Board of Regents decided last week that students who score between 50 and 64 on any Regents exams between this June and August of next year can apply to earn credit toward graduation.
The board made the change because of the uneven impact of the pandemic on students. A grade of 65 is normally needed to pass a Regents exam.
All Regents exams were canceled in June in 2020.
In 2021, the state administered some exams, but students were not required to pass the exams to earn credit and graduate.