New York Regents delay plan to require research paper for high school graduation
The State Board of Regents today decided not to greenlight a proposal to make a five-page research paper a requirement for high school graduation.
The state Department of Education had asked the regents to move towards approving the plan at its June meeting. Instead, the Regents decided to take more time and discuss the matter further in June.
The proposal would require students to write a 1,250-word paper – called the Regents Research Paper – to qualify to take the Regents English Language Arts exam. The exam, usually taken at the end of the junior year, is a requirement for graduation.
Current freshmen would be the first students affected by the requirement. They must take the ELA exam in the spring of 2015.
The Department of Education says the requirement would fit well with the state’s new Common Core Standards. The standards are intended to ensure that students can be successful in the type of work required in college and in their careers.
The department says the kinds of critical thinking and writing skills needed to write a research paper are difficult to demonstrate on an exam due to time constraints.
The article should be in English and draw on at least four “informative” non-fiction texts. School districts would be encouraged to develop guidelines for documents that exceed the minimum requirements.
The Department for Education said it would make accommodations for students for whom English is a second language and for students with disabilities.
The requirement would not be a major barrier at most schools, a central New York superintendent said today.
“I don’t see it as a big deal,” said West Genesee District Manager Chris Brown. “It’s something our students would usually do anyway, one way or another.”
Carl Korn, spokesman for the state’s largest teachers’ union, New York State United Teachers, said the idea could be a step forward because it would show whether a student can complete a search and task. authentic writing.
“The idea that students would be exposed to research and be required to write a detailed, thoughtful, document-citing article would be a very good thing,” he said.
But he said the idea’s success would come from its implementation by the state.
If the paper is written at home, he said, would that disadvantage students who don’t have a computer or the Internet? Conversely, if it was done during school hours, how much time would it take outside of classroom instruction?
Korn also asked how long it would take to mark the papers and whether teachers would be allowed to mark their own students’ papers or be required to mark someone else’s.
Contact Paul Riede at [email protected] or 470-3260. Follow him on Twitter at @PaulRiede.