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Research paper in high school?

New York Times
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New York's Education Commissioner wants high school students to improve writing skills

Photo: FLICKR/Meghan Dougherty
Photo: FLICKR/Meghan Dougherty

New York's high school students could soon face a new challenge before they earn their diplomas: a 1,250-word research paper.

That is the new proposal by the state Education Department to better prepare New York's students for life after high school.

Improve language

New York could be the first state in the nation to require a research paper before graduation, state Education Commissioner John King said. The goal is to ensure students have mastered important English skills that cannot be measured by standardized testing.

''It's an acknowledgement that a single assessment can give you lots of important information but can't tell you everything you want to know about a student's skills," he said.

If approved, the new requirement would apply to students taking the English Regents exam beginning in January 2015. It would be recommended, but not required, for students before then. The Regents exam is a state-wide standardised exam in New York state.

The proposal is part of John King's goal to raise the dismal percentage of New York high school graduates 35 percent the state considers ready for college and career.

There also is an incredible gap in what college professors and high school English teachers consider proficient. Eighty-nine percent of high school teachers consider their students ready for college, compared with just 26 percent of college instructors, according to a new survey from ACT, a nonprofit assessment company.

The state would provide the minimum requirement for the paper, but school districts would have the most say on what would be expected of students. There would be extra accommodations for special education students and English language learners.Students would have to use four sources in their five-page papers, which would have to be completed before they take their Regents exams. A final vote on the proposed plan could come in June.New York Times


  • A research paper is just like an essay but you would have to cite the sources and books frow where you have picked up an idea or a quote to support your view. You should also have a clear central idea or argument that will form the crux of your paper.


  • The State University of New York spends $70 million (Rs 378 crore) annually on remedial education for students not ready for college-level work. A research paper would teach writing skills a college freshman needs to have mastered.


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