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Queens Chronicle

Grade fixing at Rich Hill High School?

South Queens latest facility under fire for rescoring Regents: reports

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Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015 10:30 am

An email from a Richmond Hill High School assistant principal that was leaked to the New York Post earlier this week purportedly shows the school engaging in in-house rescoring of state Regent tests in an effort to improve the number of graduating students.

“It’s important that this is done quickly so that students will be able to graduate in June if more points are found,” an April email from Christine Jordan, an assistant principal from the South Queens high school, reads.

In Jordan’s email, she tells staff members that “there are 12 ELA exams from January that are in need of rescoring” and that she needs three people to look at the tests.

State law allows tests to be rescored if an error in grading is suspected; however, it is illegal to do so just to bump the numbers up to a passing grade. State law further states tests cannot be rescored by any teacher from the school the child attends.

A Department of Education spokeswoman vehemently denied any tests from Richmond Hill High School were rescored by teachers there.

“In fact, no Richmond Hills teachers rescored any January Regents exams,” spokeswoman Devora Kaye said.

“The appeal process is State protocol and is consistent with previous years — once the exam score is appealed, no staff from that school is involved and the exam is rescored by an outside committee,” Kaye said in an email on Wednesday. “Less than one percent of exams went through the appeal process and scores can stay the same, go up or go down.”

The South Queens school is one of 92 throughout the city, and 12 in Queens, that were named Renewal Schools by Mayor de Blasio and city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña in November in an effort to improve grades there. The Renewal Schools program involves longer teaching hours and additional resources to help struggling students.

Another of those schools, Automotive High School in Brooklyn, has also reportedly engaged in rescoring Regent exams — which de Blasio downplayed late last month.

“This is something that we have seen consistently over the years,” the mayor told reporters when asked about the reported incident at the school. “Again, this is a process that is done from time to time. It is not an unusual process.”

De Blasio had visited Richmond Hill High School in March to tout improving test scores, fewer suspensions and a 7-percentage point increase in the number of students on track to graduate in four years.

“You can feel that something good is happening here,” he said at the time.

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