When you went to school (or today, if you’re still in school) what was the passing grade on an exam? I’ll confess, we’re talking about the late sixties and seventies for me so it’s pretty hard to remember, but I think the minimum grade you could squeak by with was 65%. And that was a D. Anything less than that and you received an F. And since I went to school in New York, if you wanted to advance in the Regents program (slightly more advanced) you were expected to perform better.

Oh, how the times have changed. Or at least they have in New York City. Down in the Big Apple, the Regents examination rules for the coming year have been released and let’s just say that the standards seem to be a tad bit lower. Students can now get a passing grade with a score of 30%. (New York Post)

The bar keeps dropping on state math exams — and critics are saying it’s because officials are desperate for high graduation rates.

Kids only need to score a measly 30 percent on this month’s Algebra 1 Regents test to pass, according to new state guidelines.

Students who manage just 26 out of 86 total points will get a heavily weighted score of 65 — the minimum required for passage.

That’s the lowest standard since the state introduced the test four years ago.

I’m not sure if it’s the same in all states, but in New York, there’s a slight difference between just getting a high school diploma and a Regents diploma. The latter indicates the completion of more advanced coursework and is seen as a boost when applying for college. And they’re handing them out to students who managed to get 26 out of 86 possible points. Seriously, folks… that’s not even one third. There are 24 multiple choice questions worth two points each on the test, so the kids could just guess at those and still stand a fairly good shot at making it over the line.

Why is this being done? Because the city is desperate to show progress on the education front and they want graduation rates to go up. That’s similar to cities who are hard pressed to show a decrease in crime rates and “solve” the problem by telling the cops to write up more serious crimes as misdemeanors. Now that I come to think of it, several states have just seen a massive drop in drug crime numbers. How did they do it? They legalized pot.

What’s not being addressed here is the overall impact this has, not on the colleges who may accept these kids but on the students themselves. If they get credit for material they haven’t mastered, what happens when they show up as freshmen and are completely behind the curve compared to all their peers? This isn’t fair to the children or their parents who may have no clue how poorly their child is performing in class.

Another fine product of our public education system. If you can’t prepare the kids well enough to pass a required exam, pencil whip them right on out of there! Well done, New York.