Giving Compass' Take:

• New York has been working to expand graduation requirement options to increase the number of students receiving degrees. Recently, their focus has shifted to an arts model in which students could complete tasks like essays and projects instead of sitting exams. 

• How can these changes help to increase the number of students that leave school prepared for college and the workforce? What problems do alternative curricula present? How can those problems be overcome? 

• Learn more about New York's alternative graduation requirements for students with disabilities.

If a student artist wrote an essay, completed a lengthy project, and finished an end-of-course task to show mastery in her discipline, should she be excused from her last Regents exam?

That is one option New York state’s top policymakers considered during a discussion about how to test students’ knowledge in in areas such as visual arts, music and theater. The conversation is part of New York’s broader effort to expand graduation options and could provide a roadmap for state officials as they try to create testing options that stretch beyond multiple choice bubble tests.

There is no set timeline for when the state would create an arts assessment, and the state has not settled on one option. State officials discussed a range of possibilities, from submitting a portfolio of student work to an arts exam that has performance components.

Regent Roger Tilles, who has worked extensively on creating an arts option, said that while officials are still figuring out the details, a final option would likely include some combination of an end-of-course assessment and an evaluation of a student’s artistic performance during the school year.

The state has already approved an arts graduation option as part of its “4+1” program, which allows students to substitute their final Regents exam for an assessment in areas such as  career and technical education, Spanish, and work-readiness skills.

Read the full article on a new arts assessment by Monica Disare at Chalkbeat.