In the aftermath of the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo on May 14, the New York State Education Department announced this week that it is canceling this year's Regents exam in United States history because of concerns that some of the test's content "has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the violence in Buffalo, which created an unexpected and unintended context for the planned assessment."
Regents exams are end-of-year tests given annually to students in grades eight through 12 in math, science, history, English, and foreign languages. Students typically need to pass a certain number of tests in each academic discipline to be able to graduate. This year's U.S. history Regents was to take place on Wednesday, but instead, pending confirmation by the state's Board of Regents, students will be granted a graduation exemption in this subject area. The U.S. history exams planned for August and January will also be canceled, as they were to have contained similar content.
In a release issued Tuesday, Betty A. Rosa, the Education Department commissioner, said the test content cannot be changed because it has "already been printed and packaged for shipment to schools."
"It is not possible to produce a test with different content or to make modifications to the developed assessment in the short time period before the administration date," Ms. Rosa said.
The test content in question has not yet been publicly released, with Education Department officials instructing media outlets to request it via Freedom of Information Law procedures. Other Regents exams, as of now, will still be administered as planned.