External Affairs Division

Board Approves Recommendations On Regents Testing Policy

Atlanta — January 12, 2010

In the future, University System of Georgia (USG) students may be given a different assessment of learning than the current Regents’ Reading and Writing Skills Requirement, known commonly as the Regents’ Test. Today the Board of Regents approved a change to its current policy requirement (Policy 3.7) that will allow an institution to petition the Board for an exemption to administering the Regents’ Test.

The policy change, which will only allow exemptions for institutions that satisfy the Board’s criteria, follows the October 2009 approval of a new core curriculum for the USG. The new core curriculum requires all USG institutions to develop learning outcomes and assessment measures in multiple subject areas, a requirement that could make the current Regents’ Test redundant.

Under the new core curriculum, to be fully implemented across the state by 2012, student learning assessments will be required in the following areas: communication, math, humanities, the fine arts, ethics, the natural sciences, technology, the social sciences, United States and global perspectives, and critical thinking.

“One of our goals in developing a new core was to make learning outcomes and assessment integral throughout the curriculum,” said USG Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Susan Herbst. “The Regents’ Test was, and still is, an important assessment tool. We will continue to use it as well as other measures to assure that our graduates are prepared to take their place as members of a global society.”

In order to be granted a waiver to giving the Regents’ Test, institutions must demonstrate that they have in place a rigorous learning assessment program that uses methods superior to the Regents’ Test. Herbst said that initially only a limited number of institutions will be allowed to stop using the Regents’ Test. Additional institutions will be added, as they implement the new core curriculum and demonstrate the effectiveness of their assessment measures.

Over the past five years, the Board of Regents has been evaluating the effectiveness of the Regents’ Test, which was first required in 1973. Today’s decision is the culmination of that process.

“The Regents’ Test was first adopted at a time when student assessment was just not being done nationally,” said Herbst. “At that time, Georgia was out in front of other public higher education systems in requiring a System-wide assessment of student learning. Today’s action, and our adoption of a new core curriculum this past fall, only strengthens our historic commitment to providing both transparency and accountability for good student outcomes.”

The approved changes will go into effect on a rolling basis. If an institution applies for and receives an exemption, they may eliminate the Test as soon as is possible and appropriate during the academic year.

More information on the USG’s new core curriculum can be found at:

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