For the past few years, Jamesville-DeWitt High School students and students across New York public high schools have faced the math Common Core exams in early June. While math has been the hot topic of the new Common Core plan and has certainly received mixed reviews, the changes to the math curriculum in New York is part of a larger scope of changes coming to public education in the Empire State. Last year, changes were implemented to the English 11 Regents exam. Soon, changes will be coming to the social studies department as well.
There will be Common Core changes for the Global History Regents exam in June 2018 and August 2018. There will be a transition Regents which will be based on the current test model but will only test 10th grade material. It is also expected to be similar to the Advanced Placement exams, because of the more stimuli-based questions. The new Common Core exam will still be similar to the previous Regents exam, because there will be a DBQ essay, as well as short answer and multiple choice questions. The new Common Core exams will be available in August 2019 or January 2020. “I find most of the changes are in verbage,” says head of the social studies department, David Bunyun. “The content is similar, just worded differently,” says Bunyun. Junior Rachel Setek is currently in AP US History and feels prepared for the US History Regents exam in June. “I think I’ll do well on the Regents exam because I’ve already been studing for my AP final,” says Setek.
Changes in the Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2 Regents exams have been made in the past years. In 2014, students took both the old integrated Regents exams and the new Common Core exams. On the new tests, the emphasis is no longer on procedure, but is more focused on being able to communicate, justify and explain the work. “Students have to be able to think more abstractly and be able to explain the reasoning behind the work they’re doing,” says head of the math department, Susan Techman. Sophomore Niko Dimkopoulos will be taking the Algebra 2/Trigonometry Regents exam in June. “It’s been a good year and I’ve worked really hard, so I feel prepared for the test.” says Dimkopoulos.
The new Common Core English Regents exam was officially administered in 2016 for the junior class. On the new exam, there is still multiple choice and writing, however, the types of questions being asked are different from the old Regents. “I think the focus in the writing in particular has changed,” says head of the English department, Connie Myers-Kelly. There is more rhetorical analysis on the new exam instead of literary analysis. “I think our students were well prepared because we’ve known about the change.” says Myers-Kelly.
With staff and students working hard to prepare for these exams all year, hopefully J-D students will experience a smooth transition to the new exam formats.