In high schools across New York State there is always talk of the Regents Exam. This exam has been the focus of teachers since 1878 when the first high school exams were given. On April 6, 2020, that changed... at least for the time being.
Now what? I think we now have the unique opportunity to focus on learning, not the test anymore. While we rely soley on remote learning opportunities... our ability to leverage technology will certainly accelarate our ability to focus on student agency. Some cynics will say that without a Regents Exam, the students will not be motivated anymore, they're going to "check out." I don't think so. Instead, I believe we need to seize this opportunity and engage our students. Remember that first and foremost we teach students, then we teach content... and remember, children are naturally curious, want to make connections, and desire learning things that are relevant to them; things that are real.
Now is the time to leverage creation tools. Whether it is a product to create or a problem to solve, allow students to determine how they demonstrate and share their learning.
Now is the the time to shift the paradigm as we are not going to take high stakes, multiple choice tests! Lets do what we've always wanted to do... make learning fun!
Whittney Smith, Ed.D.
Dr. Smith is the Principal of Mineola High School in Garden City Park, NY. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Ruth Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University.