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October 16, 2017
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Proposes Regulation Changes To Add A New Pathway To A High School Equivalency Diploma

Passing Scores on Regents Exams Could Be Used in Place of TASC Subtests

Public Comment Period Begins November 1, 2017

Update: Public comments will be accepted through January 2, 2018

The State Education Department today proposed regulatory changes to provide an additional pathway to earn a New York State high school equivalency diploma (HSE) by allowing individuals to use passing scores on certain Regents exams in place of the corresponding TASCTM​​ subtests. A 45-day public comment period on the proposed amendment will be held from Nov. 1 through Dec. 18.

“A high school equivalency diploma can help people succeed in today’s ever-more competitive job market and provide a path to higher education,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “Providing another pathway to an equivalency diploma will encourage individuals to stay engaged in education programs, improve high school completion rates, and open the door of opportunity to literally thousands of New Yorkers every year.”

“Regents exams are a valid and reliable measure of the knowledge, skills and abilities required for high school graduation,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “So, it makes sense to count passing scores on those exams for people seeking a high school equivalency diploma, providing them with more avenues to succeed in life.”

New York currently provides three pathways to earn an HSE diploma:

  • TASCTM testing (Test Assessing Secondary Completion)
  • Approved 24-college-credit program
  • National External Diploma Program (NEDP)

Currently, students who do not earn 22 credits and pass at least five assessments (Regents exams, Department-approved alternatives, or pathway exams) are unable to earn a high school diploma – and they receive no credit for the classes and examinations they may have passed.

The proposed amendment allows students who have passed any Regents examination in Mathematics, English Language Arts, Social Studies or Science to use those passing scores in place of the corresponding  TASCTM subtests. Students will not be allowed to use previously passed Regents exam scores towards an HSE diploma until they have exited from high school.

If adopted, the proposed regulation could assist thousands of individuals in obtaining an HSE diploma. The table below details the number of students who started grade 9 in 2011 and 2012, passed Regents exams, but did not receive a high school diploma by the time of their expected graduation in 2015 or 2016.

Students who passed Regents Examinations Without Earning a Diploma

Regents Subjects Passed Dropped Out              
1 5767
2 3831
3 3178
4 3043
Total 15,819

Timetable for Implementation

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making will be published in the State Register on Nov. 1, 2017. Public comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through Dec. 18, 2017 and can be submitted by email to

Following the public comment period, it is anticipated that the proposed amendment will be presented to the Board of Regents for adoption at its Jan. 2018 meeting. If adopted at the Jan. meeting, the proposed amendment would become effective as a permanent rule on Feb. 7, 2018.

Public Comment Period

Notice of Proposed Rule Making was published in the State Register on November 1, 2017. NYSED will accept comments on the proposed amendments through January 2, 2018. Please email comments to