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Policy Changes Adopted on Regents’ Test

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Atlanta — April 16, 2003

Today the Board of Regents approved a policy modification in the 30-year-old Regents’ Testing Program, designed to evaluate the college-level reading and writing competency of University System of Georgia graduates.

The change will allow the use of alternative tests to fulfill the Regents’ Test requirements and could result in a significant percentage of System students being exempted from the reading component of the test.

As approved by the Regents at their April Board meeting - which was held on the University of Georgia campus in Athens – the new policy will become effective in the summer semester of 2003 for students graduating from a University System institution in summer semester 2003 or later.

“The Regents’ Test always has served as a tool to help us ensure that our students are prepared for graduation,” said Dr. Daniel S. Papp, senior vice chancellor for Academics and Fiscal Affairs. “If existing alternatives effectively assess our students’ competencies in these areas and eliminate the need to administer the test to everyone, that’s a positive development both for the System and for our students.”

The Regents’ Test, administered by the Board of Regents, is used by the University System to ensure that all undergraduate students have mastered reading and writing skills at a level that qualifies them for graduation and the awarding of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

University System data indicates that more than 95 percent of students with SAT Verbal scores of at least 510 pass the reading comprehension component of the Regents’ Test on the first attempt. In the revised policy, students who scored at least 510 on the SAT Verbal or an equivalent score on the ACT will meet the necessary reading competency and would be exempted from taking that section of the Regents’ Test. Students who either have not taken one of these tests or do not have the appropriate minimum score still would be required to take the Regents’ Test.

Most University System students, even those that would be exempted from the reading section of the Regents’ Test, still would need to take the writing section. However, students who have a score of at least 650 on the SAT II English Writing test, or a score of 3 on the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) English test, or a score of 4 on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level English test, would be exempted from the writing section of the Regents’ Test.

“The minimum scores we’ve set indicate a very high probability of passing the Regents’ Test,” said Papp. “We are not changing what we expect our students to learn and to know, but instead we are using proven measurements to help us be more efficient in assessing our students, thereby conserving resources.” Based upon fall 2002 SAT and ACT scores for first-time freshmen, 92 percent of University of Georgia freshmen would have been exempted from the Regents’ reading test; 96 percent of the students at Georgia Tech, 61 percent at Georgia College & State University, and 57 percent at Georgia Southern University also would be excluded.

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