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Many Regents exams to be cut by next year
Matt Dalen; Ledger Reporter
October 29, 2009
Bolting right out of the gate on some of the major changes in itslong-range plan, the Katonah-Lewisboro school board decided onTuesday, Oct. 20, to eliminate two Regents exams - physics, andalgebra and trigonometry - immediately, with six more to be cut by theend of the following year. The exams are to be replaced withassessments that are designed to better prepare students for the work they will be doing in college, according to John Jay High SchoolPrincipal Ellen Doherty. This move will leave the district with onlythose five Regents exams that are mandated by the state.The first two Regents exams to be eliminated would be physics andalgebra and trigonometry. Physics teacher Frank Noschese spoke atthe board meeting to explain what he would use instead of themultiple-choice state exam."[This is] a way to teach physics through experiments," Mr. Noschesesaid. "The kids devise their own experiments, they take their data, andthen they have to present their data to the class. As a class, we decidewhat the laws of physics are based on the data." Mr. Noschese saidthat he had already re-engineered his class to grade, not on studentsnapshots of knowledge such as quizzes, but on how well the studentsunderstand the material by the end of the year.Thus, students who are slower at understanding the concepts can stillperform well if they can demonstrate mastery of them at the end of the year.The final exam, Mr.Noschese said, would take the form of a project. Students would beable to choose between different projects, such as designing andbuilding a device that demonstrates knowledge of physics, or creatinga "Mythbusters"-like experiment that demonstrates physicsknowledge."Its astounding to have in my hands the blueprints for what studentshave been longing for," said student board member Michael Mitchell."I think we need to move immediately to how can we replicate this.By the time my sister graduates, I want to see this across the board."