Testing/Assessments and Learning Standards, Middle-Level Education, Graduation Requirements
March 18, 2021

Fact Sheet 21-6: NYS Assessments and Diploma Requirements

Source: NYSUT Research & Educational Services
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On February 12, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) submitted a formal request to the United States Department of Education (USDE) to waive state testing requirements at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The USDE informed states that it will not grant a blanket waiver for state assessments. Pending a final decision from the USDE regarding NYSED’s waiver request, districts will need to prepare to proceed with the Spring 2021 test administrations.

At the March Board of Regents Meeting, there were several amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations adopted for the 2020-2021 school year. These amendments allow exemptions to the diploma, credential, and endorsement requirements associated with the Regents examinations, pathway assessments, alternative assessments, technical assessments, and locally developed tests and include the June and August 2021 examination administrations so that students are still able to meet their diploma requirements. This Fact Sheet outlines what you need to know about state assessment and diploma requirements for 2021.

If the USDE Grants the Assessment Waiver

If the USDE Assessment Waiver is Denied; or

There is No Response From USDE

June 2021 administration of ALL Regents Examinations will be cancelled.

  • The Department will administer only the Regents Examinations required under ESSA during the June 2021 Administration:
    • Algebra I
    • Earth Science (There will be no Part D)
    • Living Environment
    • ELA
  • State Assessments cannot be administered remotely
  • June 2021 Regents Exam Schedule.

The August 2021 administration of ALL Regents Examinations will be cancelled.

The August 2021 administration of ALL Regents Examinations will be cancelled.

There will be NO grades 3-8 assessments in Math and ELA.

There will be NO grades 4 and 8 Science assessment.

Regents Exam Exemptions


Students who have met the standards for the course of study, as locally determined, are eligible for an exemption to the examination requirements.

  • A student is currently enrolled in a course of study ending in a Regents Examination and by the end of the 2021 school year, or the 2021 summer session, will have earned credit in such course of study.
  • A student was previously enrolled in the course ending in the applicable Regents Examination, has achieved course credit, and has not yet passed the associated required Regents Examination but was intending to take the test in June 2021 or August 2021 to achieve a passing score.
  • The student is in grade 7 or 8 (accelerated course(s)) is enrolled in a course of study ending in a Regents Examination and has met the standards assessed in the provided coursework.

Diploma Requirements


Exemptions to the diploma requirements associated with the June 2021 and August 2021 examination administrations.

  • Only students who have met the standards for the course of study, as locally determined, will be eligible for an exemption to the examination requirements. These include exemptions to:
    • Regents examinations;
    • Pathway assessments;
    • Alternative assessments;
    • Technical assessments;
    • Work-readiness assessments; and
    • Locally developed tests.

  • Student course grades may be substituted for exam scores in cases where Regents Examination exemptions would preclude a student from qualifying for a Mastery or Honors endorsement to their diploma.
  • Parents can decline these designations
  • Students taking a high school equivalency diploma are exempted from the sub-tests of the general comprehensive examination if the student has met specific criteria.

World Languages


For World Language Checkpoint A and B, the District may choose to waive the test requirement and grant one unit of credit if it is determined the student met the standards assessed in provided coursework.


CDOS Commencement Credential


The exemption from any unfinished requirements for the career development and occupational studies commencement credential (CDOS), including the work-readiness assessment, provided that the student has demonstrated knowledge and skills related to the CDOS learning standards.


Science Lab Requirements

  • Student may still be eligible to take a Regents exam in Science if they are unable to meet the 1,200-minute lab requirement due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The 1,200 minutes of lab experience may be met through a combination of hands-on and simulated laboratory experience for all school years where such hands-on laboratory experience is constrained by the COVID-19 crisis.

TM/mc – 3/2021

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