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NYSED cancels U.S. History and Government Regents exam in aftermath of mass shooting in Buffalo

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Posted at 12:12 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 12:12:24-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — The New York State Education Department announced it has canceled the U.S. History and Government Regents exam scheduled for June 1 in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Buffalo on May 14.

NYSED made the announcement in a memo saying in part "our experts determined that there is content on the new Regents Examination in United States History and Government (Framework) that has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo."

The memo also said, "while developed by NYS-certified social studies teachers more than two years ago and field-tested to confirm that the exam's content is educationally sound, the tragedy in Buffalo has created an unexpected and unintended context for the planned assessment."

According to NYSED, at the June 2022 Board of Regents meeting, the Department will ask the Board to approve a graduation exemption for students that were scheduled to take the exam.

You can read the full memo below.

Dear Colleagues,

As I wrote in my May newsletter, we at the New York State Education Department, together with Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr., Regent Catherine Collins of the 8th Judicial District, and the Members of the Board of Regents, mourn the lives lost in Buffalo in yet another reprehensible act of violence and hatred. We grieve for the innocent victims, their families, their towns, and our country.

As we look for ways to support our students and our fellow community members following this incomprehensible tragedy, the Department is committed to preparing our children to become active members of their communities who raise each other up and work together for the common good. We are enormously grateful to our educators as they help their students navigate and process the unthinkable.

In the wake of the heinous mass shooting in Buffalo, the Department is taking numerous steps to explore potential areas of support for students and schools across the state. Such actions include having content experts from the Department, in partnership with NYS educators, review all June 2022 Regents Exams, which have already been printed and packaged for shipment to schools. During that review, our experts determined that there is content on the new Regents Examination in United States History and Government (Framework) that has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo.

While developed by NYS-certified social studies teachers more than two years ago and field-tested to confirm that the exam's content is educationally sound, the tragedy in Buffalo has created an unexpected and unintended context for the planned assessment. The Regents Examination in United States History and Government (Framework) was scheduled to be held for the first time on June 1, 2022. The Department planned to administer this examination earlier than other Regents Exams to allow NYS educators to review the content of the exam and a representative sample of student results to make a recommendation for the performance standards (i.e., "cut scores") for this new assessment.

It is not possible to produce a test with different content or to make modifications to the developed assessment in the short time period before the administration date. To appropriately support our students and their well-being, the Department is canceling the administration of the Regents Examination in United States History and Government (Framework) for June 2022.

At the June 2022 Board of Regents meeting, the Department will ask the Board to approve a graduation exemption for students scheduled to take the Regents Exam in United States History and Government (Framework) next month. Due to the technical requirements associated with administering a new assessment, the regulatory change that the Board of Regents will consider will include exemptions for students planning to take this exam in June 2022, August 2022, and January 2023.

New York has exceptional school communities that show unwavering dedication to their students. The Department is committed to supporting our students, schools, and communities in the wake of the tragedy in Buffalo. We will work together to ensure that goodness and compassion will always triumph over ignorance and hatred. Thank you for everything that you do every day to support children.

Sincerely,

Betty A. Rosa

Commissioner