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4 boro high schools record top Regents scores: Report

Four Queens high schools achieved better than an 80 percent passing rate on the state’s Regents exams, state Education Department statistics revealed last week, while the 35 borough high schools as a whole posted a 57 percent passing rate on the tests.

The four high schools at which more than 80 percent of the students passed were: Benjamin Cardozo in Bayside (85 percent); the Academy of American Studies in Long Island City (86 percent); Robert F. Kennedy in Kew Gardens Hills (85 percent); and Townsend Harris in Flushing (100 percent).

This is the first year that the state has required all students to pass four Regents exams in English, math, global history and geography, and U.S. history and government in order to earn a high school diploma.

The passing rates for the borough were taken from test results from 13,144 Queens students.

State Education Department spokesman Tom Dunn cautioned against ranking the high schools from best to worst based on the scores because each has a different population and some are magnet or specialty schools catering to students from throughout the city. He said his department does not like to “crown a winner ” and instead recommends looking at the Regents scores as just one measure of a high school’s performance.

State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said students are, however, taking longer to graduate and sometimes drop out to avoid taking the tests.

“Overall achievement is improving, but New York still faces many challenges,” he said. “New York faces some difficult times financially, but we need to keep investing in our children and make sure they all get a good education.”

Other well-performing schools in Queens included The Academy of New Americans, Bayside High School, Francis Lewis High School, Grover Cleveland High School and The Mathematics, Science Research and Technology Magnet High School.

The state Department of Education released the results last week for high school students who were in Queens from 1998-2002. The statistics show that at least 85 percent of general education students in the state who began ninth grade in 1998 passed the required exams in English, math, global history and geography and U.S. history and government.

Queens students are raising their passing rates on state Regents exams each year, according to the statistics, despite the higher academic standards requiring them to pass four of the high school tests in order to graduate.

State statistics also revealed that significant gaps exist for poor and minority students, with minority students in well-performing schools achieving at higher rates than those at low-performing schools. According to state statistics, many more students are getting Regents diplomas by passing eight Regents exams, including two math and two science exams.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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