Do you have an Algebra 1 Regents exam coming up? Then we’re sure you have questions, and we’ve got the answers.
Read through the following comprehensive frequently asked questions surrounding the Algebra 1 Regents exam to start preparing for your big test.
What We Review
Is the Algebra 1 Regents exam hard?
The Algebra 1 Regents exam is hard in the context that the subject can be tough for any student. However, it’s not a very hard test based on how it is curved. The downward trend of the curve has sparked controversy among educators believing a passing score does not reflect true mastery of Algebra, and the numbers back this sentiment.
As recentlyJanuary 2020’s Algebra 1 Regentstest, students only needed to get a 27 raw score to receive a passing performance level of 3. In2016’s January exam, students needed to score a 30 to receive that same score of a 3.
This downward trend seems to suggest that Algebra 1 Regents is getting easier, not harder, as a test. Since the exam is scored out of 86 points, students only need to score 31%, compared to 34% back in 2016.
Educators that believe the test is becoming easier say so because of the way raw scores get converted to scaled scores. For example, at the high end of the January 2020 conversion chart, an 80/86 scales to a 93% percent, which makes sense since that’s the raw fraction. However, as you go further down the chart to for example a bare minimum passing raw score of 27, that translates to a scaled score of 65 when 27/86 is 31%.
More on this topic of Algebra 1 Regents’ rigor can be readhereandhere.
Are Algebra 1 Regents exams timed? If so, how long are they?
The Algebra 1 Regents exam lasts for three hours. Students often do not use the entire exam administration time to complete the test; however, students cannot leave the testing location before the three hours has concluded.
More on the way Algebra 1 Regents exams are administered is detailed in the test guide provided by the New York State of Education here.
How are Algebra 1 Regents exams graded?
When it comes to how Algebra 1 Regents exams are graded, there are four components to the test:
In Part I, there are 24 questions that are valued at two credits per question. This means the total possible credits from Part I is 48 (24 x 2).
In Part II, there are eight questions valued at 2 credits each. This creates the total possible credits pool of 16.
In Part III of Algebra 1 Regents, there are four questions valued at 4 points for a total of 16 credits.
Finally, in Part IV, there is one question worth six points.
In aggregate, this means the exam has a total of 86 possible points (which form your raw score). From your raw score, exam graders then reference the official state-issued conversion charts to translate your score into your final examination score (known as a scale score).
The cut off for passing the Algebra 1 Regents test is a performance level of 3.
Referencing the January 2019 and 2020 exams, the cutoffs have remained relatively stable:
Raw Score | Scale Score | Performance Level |
68 | 85 | 5 |
51-52 | 80 | 4 |
27 | 65 | 3 |
19 | 55 | 2 |
How do Algebra 1 Regents exams work?
In order to graduate, New York state students take a series of Regents exams, one of which is the Algebra 1 Regents exam. Students sit for the three-hour exam answering 37 questions.
After the test ends, the exams are scored by licensed and trained New York City teachers. This scoring typically begins for each Regents test two days after the exam was administered. No Regents exam is scored by a teacher from the same school as the student.
Scores are usually released a few weeks after the exam date. When scores are ready, they are released on the student’s high school transcript, as well as in their NYC Schools Account. High schools will make the choice for displaying all of the student’s Regents scores or just the top mark they received in each exam subject.
Regents exams are very important since they not only matter for students to meet their graduation requirements, but also are used for evaluating schools as well as educators.
How many Regents exams do you need to take to graduate high school?
In New York, high school students can earn a Regents diploma, an advanced Regents diploma, or a local diploma. The difference between a Regents and an advanced Regents diploma is really in the number of Regents exams you score a performance level 3 or higher on.
If a student is including their Algebra 1 Regents exam to fulfill their math exam requirement for a Regents diploma, they need to score a 65 or higher. Students only need to pass one mathematics exam in this way. Other ways to meet this requirement is through the Regents Geometry or Regents Algebra II/Trigonometry exams. You can learn more about the Algebra 2 Regents exam here and the Geometry Regents exam here.
For an advanced Regents diploma, students need three math exams with a 65 or higher — this means Algebra 1 is just 33% of what they need to obtain this diploma.
If you’d like to strive for getting a designation with your diploma (i.e. with Honors), you must score an average score of 90 on all required Regents exams.
For local diplomas, requirements vary and are not as directly related to your Regents Algebra 1 results. Consult your guidance counselor for more information on your local diploma.
You may find this diploma worksheet helpful in mapping out how your Regents Algebra 1 test fits into your graduation requirements.
What happens if you fail a Regents exam?
Please do not worry if you fail your Regents Algebra 1 exam!
You will typically get another chance to retake the exam. Every year, the Algebra 1 Regents exam is administered in three months: August, January, and June. This allows you ample time to review concepts you may not have fully mastered the first time and to better prepare for the next time.
If you are hoping to make Algebra 1 your Regents diploma requirement, you will have to keep retaking the exam until you score at least a 65 scaled score (which translates to a performance level 3).
Depending on your school, if you fail your Algebra 1 Regents exam, you may be required to go to summer school or complete credit recovery. Ask your guidance counselor for your school’s policy.
What is the purpose of the Algebra 1 Regents exam?
The Algebra 1 Regents exam is intended to assess student fluency in solving characteristic problems such as analytic geometry of lines, comfort in working with polynomials, and transforming expressions and chunking in algebraic calculations.
The Algebra 1 Regents test does so through five core modules:
- Module 1: Relationships between quantities and reasoning with equations and their graphs
- Module 2: Descriptive statistics
- Module 3: Linear and exponential functions
- Module 4: Polynomial and quadratic expressions, equations and functions
- Module 5: A synthesis of modeling with equations and functions
In their curriculum overview, the New York State Education Department lists mathematical practice goals for students grounded in improving their ability to reason abstractly and quantitatively, as well as model with mathematics.
Students build on their foundations covered in eighth grade (such as solving linear equations in one variable) to gain proficiency towards broader applications like statistics and probability. These are the sorts of real-world skills that enable students to bring meaning from numbers.
When do you typically take Algebra 1 Regents?
The New York State Department of Education has a three-year curriculum for high school math instruction. Algebra is the first year of that three-year curriculum.
This means that most students will take Algebra 1 in either 9th or 10th grade. Depending on the school, Algebra 1 can be split into a two-year sequence where students start with Algebra 1A, and then finish Algebra 1B the following year.
After students complete Algebra 1, they move on to take the Geometry Regents exam.
When is Regents Week? What are the typical start dates?
Regents week typically falls in the second to last week of January, the third and fourth weeks of June, and second weeks of August. Regents exams are administered three times a year.
For 2020, the exams are scheduled for January 21-24, June 17-25, and August 13-14. Referring to the State Education Department’s site, the dates have been consistently set in December or January via a press release two years in advance (i.e. December 2018 was when 2020 Regents exam dates were shared).
Algebra 1 Regents is generally an earlier exam in the overall testing schedule. We cover more on when the Algebra 1 Regents exam typically is in our How to Pass Algebra 1 Regents guide.
Which states have Algebra 1 Regents exams?
While other states may have their own Algebra 1 test, the Regents Algebra 1 test is unique to New York. Official Regents exams are only administered in the state of New York by the State Education Department.
Need help preparing for your Algebra 1 Regents exam?
Albert has a number of Algebra 1 Regents practice tests for you to practice with!
Start your Regents test prep here
We also have a series of very helpful free resources for you:
- The Best 30-Day Algebra 1 Regents Study Guide
- How to Pass the Algebra 1 Regents Exam
- Algebra 1 Regents Study Tips and Things to Remember