Failing NYC Students Get Exams Fixed By City

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Students at a Brooklyn high school had their Regents exams “re-scored” by school administrators to allow them to pass, The New York Post reports.

Automotive High School is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and has been identified by the de Blasio administration as a “renewal” school. De Blasio has vowed to improve the schools with $163 million in the upcoming school year.

According to the city Department of Education it was Aimee Horowitz, superintendent of Renewal schools, who reviewed and approved the requests of nine Automotive students to have their January 2015 Regents exams re-scored.

The practice of re-scoring tests just short of passing is known as “scrubbing,” which was banned by the state in 2011.

“This is Scrubbing Part 2,” A veteren educator told the Post, “The teachers used to do it. Now it’s the administrators.”

A student at the school spoke with a guidance counselor about having his exam re-scored as he was one point shy of passing. He was told to sign his name on a list, along with about 20 other students.

Five students received higher scores, three had them decreased and one stayed the same.

After finding out her son had his Living Environment Regents score raised from a 64 to a 72, she told the Post, “It’s not beneficial for him,” adding that, “It’s going to hurt him in the long run .”

He had failed the same class, but schools can give credits to students who pass the Regents exam for a class they failed.

State officials allow exams to be re-scored, “if the superintendent of schools has compelling reason to believe that an essay was not scored in accordance with the rating guide or according to the required procedures.”

“They found extra points,” said a student who had both his biology and algebra scores boosted to passing levels, “The other school that graded that test graded it wrong… I know I couldn’t have failed it.”

City scores dropped in 2014 after a new rule stopped teachers from grading tests given at their own schools.

In June, only one student at Automotive High School out of 25 passed Common Core math, all trigonometry test takers failed.

Living Environment had only 30 of the 66 students who signed up for the exam show up — of those only four passed. Students passed history with a 42 percent pass rate.

“I am thrilled to be here at Automotive, this is a school were a lot of positive change is happening,” said Mayor de Blasio at a March 2015 speech at the school.

Automotive High School is among seven other city schools branded as “out of time,” by the state Education Department. These schools require either significant revamping or face shutdown.