Regents and SED Regulations and Policy Changes and Updates

Dateline: October 30, 2011
This link shared comments made by Commissioner King (May 23, 2011) related to the LOTE requirement for graduation. Details on this statement can be found here:

Dateline: June 2, 2011
David Abrams, Assistant Commissioner for Assessment Policy, Development and Administration recently released a memo clarifying the changes in assessments beginning in the 2011-12 school year.

Dateline: May 17, 2011

On May 10, 2011, Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, who has since been appointed to be the New York State Education Department’s new commissioner beginning June 15, submitted a proposal to the SED’s P-12 Education Committee and the College and Career Working Group.

The two primary issues of concern to NYSAFLT are the recommendation to eliminate the French, Spanish, and Italian Comprehensive Regents Exams beginning in 2012, and the recommendation for locally developed exams, stating also that “commercially available exams” such as the SAT II, the AP, Cambridge IGCSE, and the International Baccalaureate are acceptable replacement exams, as they “ensure foreign language competence and attainment of learning standards.”

In a closed session late Monday afternoon, the Board of Regents reconvened and passed the proposal. Although this move has been predicted since the demise of the SLP exams and the German, Latin and Hebrew Regents exams this school year, it is still a shock and truly a sad day for language teachers in New York State. This news has been reported across the state, most notably in the New York Times.

Although this may be a fait accompli, once again it is time for our NYSAFLT membership to express to the incoming Commissioner ( and our Regents our strong support of our present LOTE Comprehensive exams and our opposition to their elimination. Please do not underestimate the seriousness of this cut. These exams were the one thing standing between the current state mandate for a credit in LOTE and a very uncertain future where LOTE may once again be “optional”.

Know that NYSAFLT is with you and here to support you and your colleagues. Please urge your non-member colleagues to join us – since it is in numbers that we have the greatest voice, and in our connections with each other around the state that we will have the greatest strength as we move forward. We believe in a world where global literacy and languages are paramount – and we must continue to try to change the world -one successful and happy language student at a time.

John Carlino
NYSAFLT Executive Director

Dateline: April 26, 2011

NYSAFLT continues to stay in close communication with representatives of the State Education Department to seek clarity and understanding of middle level LOTE requirements and what is required. A recent conversation with Mary Beth Casey, Associate in Middle Level Education yielded this for your consideration:

A strict interpretation of the new regulation does indeed necessitate that a middle school student seeking the first unit of diploma credit in LOTE and taking a level one course over 2 years (in this case grade 7 and 8) must indeed successfully complete both units of study. Districts must remember however that successful completion of the course is determined by the district. In other words the district decides what constitutes passing the unit of study and how much weight will be given to homework, classwork, tests, quizzes, participation etc. Remediation and make up coursework can also play a factor here. The intent of the regulation is to insure the student has had adequate instruction and has mastered the learning outcomes leading to the checkpoint A learning standards for LOTE.

As always, please contact NYSED with additional questions or clarification.

Dateline: April 11, 2011

Due to widespread lack of clarity regarding interpretation of the new State Regulations regarding the LOTE requirement, NYSAFLT has attempted to obtain further clarification from the State Education Department.

As many of us are just now realizing, the new regulations passed December 14, 2010 are written in such a way as to require “successful completion” of both units of the two-unit LOTE requirement (where in the past this was not the case). The State Education Department is no longer using the term “seat time”. These new regulations apply to the current school year.

Two fundamental questions have been raised surrounding the implementation of these regulations:

  1. What should schools do about 7th graders who do not pass their first unit of instruction and what do we do about current 8th graders who did not pass 7th grade LOTE last year?
  2. What is the standing of so-called “accelerated” LOTE programs?

When asked what to do about students who do not “successfully complete” the first unit of study, the reply we received from SED was:

“The regulations that were passed by the Board of Regents require students to “successfully complete” the two units of study as well as “pass” the locally developed test. As such, students must meet all three criteria (i.e., pass Grade 7, pass Grade 8, and pass local test) in order to earn one unit of high school credit in Grade 8 or earlier.

“Failing which, schools and districts would need to provide opportunities for students to “make up” or “recover” those units of study and to meet local requirements for “successful completion”.”

In response to questions regarding so called “accelerated” middle school LOTE programs, the State Education Department has replied:

“The provision for Grade 8 acceleration for diploma credit exists in regulations (see However, this provision is NOT intended for an entire cohort of students. It is intended for individual students based on his or her “readiness” as determined by the superintendent or his/her designee.”

In response to questions regarding this new, seemingly narrower interpretation of accelerated LOTE instruction we received the following reply:

“The superintendent, or his or her designee, shall determine whether a student has demonstrated readiness in each subject in which he or she asks to begin high school courses in the eighth grade leading to a diploma.”

In response to further questions regarding the status of existing accelerated programs around the state, given this new, narrower interpretation of acceleration of students, we received the following response:

“Each district is unique and it is conceivable that a high performing school district may indeed have a group of students who may benefit from this provision in regulations.”

Needless to say, we at NYSAFLT are extremely concerned that major changes in policy and interpretation of policy have been made without adequate effort to make the field aware of these changes and without adequate time to adapt programming and curriculum.

While we would like to be of assistance to every member who has questions about his/her individual LOTE program, the volume of questions has been overwhelming. If members have questions regarding the status of students in their program, they should contact the Office of Bilingual Studies and Foreign Language Education directly:



John Carlino
NYSAFLT Executive Director

Dateline: April 6, 2011

Senior Deputy Commissioner John King presented the following report on the proposed requirements for graduation at the Board of Regents meeting Monday, April 4. It is apparent that, although there is some mention of LOTE (which was not included in the January report), the vagueness of the wording is a serious concern to NYSAFLT. I have sent a formal letter to Commissioner Steiner, Senior Deputy Commissioner John King, and the New York Regents, voicing these concerns.

Our major concerns involve the absence of inclusion of the one-unit LOTE requirement before the completion of 9th grade and the description of alternate assessments. At a time when the experts are stressing the need for language and international studies for national security, economic strength, and 21st century skills, as well as the importance of beginning language study during the early years, we feel that the present graduation requirement proposal falls far short of what is in the best interest of our students and our state.

We are asking all NYSAFLT members to join in our campaign to contact Commissioner Steiner ( , Senior Deputy Commissioner King (, and the New York Regent from your region, to voice your opinion on these issues. You can find your Regent and his/her contact information at

Talking points (next to this arrow ) are available at NYSAFLT’s advocacy page. Of course, it’s best to give examples of how the present proposals impact your program and the futures of your students.

Thank you for your time and attention to this most important matter.

Nancy Ketz
NYSAFLT President

Dateline: March 17, 2011

Dear Friend of NYSAFLT,
NYSAFLT is aware of the aforementioned memo outlining potential revisions to graduation requirements. LOTE is not specifically mentioned anywhere in the memo as being excluded or included. We are attempting to get clarification from the State Education Department and will keep you apprised as more information becomes available. We thank you for your continued vigilance and advocacy at the local level as we fight for our programs.

Dateline: March 17, 2011

What happens if your school is proposing cutting 7th grade language?

Recently several districts around the state have announced proposed cuts to 7th grade LOTE programs prompting a flurry of questions to NYSAFLT headquarters. I would like to take a moment to clarify the state mandate and how cuts to 7th grade programs will affect compliance based on our understanding of it.

The current mandate has not changed: two units of study and one high school credit before the end of 9th grade.

In order to complete those two units as required, districts must begin instruction no later than 8th grade. This means that in districts where there is an accelerated curriculum covering all of Checkpoint A in one year, the mandate of two units and one credit could be met. It is important to note that the curriculum must be accelerated (see the NYS Syllabus: Modern Languages for Communication at for details as to exactly what must be covered in Checkpoint A) and, if prior to 9th grade, the final exam must comply with SED guidelines for locally written exams substituting for the SLP (see the memo from Assistant Commissioner David Abrams at for details).

For further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us or contact the State Education Department directly.

Dateline: January 28, 2011

The Board of Regents has created a survey focusing on 3 topics: College and Career Readiness, Necessary Skills and Knowledge for College and Workforce Success, and New York State Graduation Requirements. They are also in the process of holding local informational meetings (see below) dealing with these topics. Unfortunately, Languages Other Than English seem to be left out of the conversations.

NYSAFLT feels that it is time to include LOTE in those discussions. While our organization has been actively involved in letter-writing and phone calling over the past year, it is now time for the membership to once again join in the struggle, in a two-pronged approach:

  1. We urge you to take the survey ( The DEADLINE for completing the survey is February 18, 2011 at midnight. Although none of the questions on the survey include LOTE, each question is followed by a comment box. Please give your comments, finding a way to bring attention to the omission of LOTE from the discussion.

  2. If possible, attend the local meeting and educate the audience about the benefits of our LOTE programs.

  • February 2 – Mid-State/Central Region/Syracuse
    OCM BOCES – Rodax 8 Building (Conference Room)
    6075 East Molloy Road
    (315) 433-2602

  • February 10 – Long Island
    Western Suffolk BOCES – Wheatley Heights Conference Center
    31 Lee Avenue
    Wheatley Heights
    (631) 549-4900

  • February 15 – NYC

  • February 17 – Mid-South (RSVP by February 9)
    TST BOCES – Smith School Gymnasium
    555 Warren Road
    (607) 257-1551 x202

  • TBD – North Country
    Lake Placid MS/HS
    34 School Street
    Lake Placid
    (518) 483-6420

  • Capital Region was held on January 25 ( – way to go Mike Mitchell!)

  • Western NY/Buffalo was held on January 27

If the Board of Regents and the State Education Department want our input, we must respond. Finally, please pass this listserv to other LOTE teachers, administrators, parents, business owners, and anyone you know who supports LOTE education. The greater the response, the greater chance of being heard!


Nancy Ketz
NYSAFLT President 2011

Dateline: December 31, 2010

David Abrams from NYSED sends this communication to NYSAFLT regarding the elimination of LOTE assessments. The highlighted portion of the attached SED policy reflect changes pertaining to LOTE.

Dateline: October 26, 2010 – View the official memo regarding  the Development and Administration of Local Second Language Proficiency Examinations

Dateline: October 15, 2010

Dateline: September 21, 2010

The following memo was released by Senior Deputy Commissioner, John B. King, Jr. today. Highlighted are the sections that speak to the earning of one unit of credit in LOTE, before entering grade 9 and to earning a Regents diploma with advanced designation in those languages for which no Regents comprehensive assessment is available.

While this information may address some immediate concerns, we must remain vigilant as the Commissioner’s Regulations are rewritten. NYSAFLT will be in attendance at the October Board meeting to hear firsthand what is being proposed and to hear the reactions and comments by the Board of Regents. We will also continue to work to preserve our LOTE requirements in the absence of state assessments.

Rest assured that through our NYSAFLT listserv we will keep you apprised of any new developments or information regarding LOTE in New York State.


Sue Hochmuth
NYSAFLT President

Dateline: September 19, 2010

Dear Friends of Foreign Language Education,

I want you to know that NYSAFLT has been vigorously pursuing answers for you regarding the elimination of the Second Language Proficiency Exams and the Regents Exams in German, Hebrew and Latin without success. Countless phone calls and emails have yet to provide us with the information that we are seeking. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Steve Katz in the Office of Assessment. As a result of that communication the following letter has been sent to Commissioner Steiner, Dr. King, Chancellor Tisch, all members of the Board of Regents, David Abrams, Steve Katz (Office of State Assessment – 518.474.5902), Edward Marshilok, Marybeth Casey (Office of Curriculum and Instructional Technology – 518.474.5902), Jean Stevens (Associate Commissioner), Pedro Ruiz and Kin Chee (Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies – 518.474.8775). We also plan to be present if and when this is discussed at upcoming Board of Regents Meetings.

It seems that no plan was developed prior to the elimination of our exams to address the current questions that teachers and school district have. Understand that I also share your frustration over this lack of foresight on the part of the New York State Education Department.

The only official communication that has come out so far is the following from Steven Katz and Edward S. Marschilok, Ph.D.:

With regards to the recent elimination of the Second Language Proficiency Examinations and the Regents Comprehensive Examinations in German, Hebrew, and Latin, schools do not need to make any significant changes in student schedules. The Department will review current regulations to develop recommendations for the Board of Regents on proposed changes to Part 100.

With respect to the elimination of the Regents Comprehensive Examinations in German, Hebrew, and Latin, students who successfully complete coursework in these languages and earn units of credit may apply those credits towards the requirements for a Regents Diploma or Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation.

We will provide further information on these matters as it becomes available.

Thank you for your inquiry.

NYSAFLT will continue to work to make the concerns of LOTE teachers and school districts heard but we need your help in doing this. Please write, email and/or phone any of the people listed above (links provided – Regents on the page but SED info needs to be added) and be sure to include the following in your message:

* The need to preserve our LOTE requirements for the students of New York State.
* The need to allow local school districts to create exams in place of Proficiency and Regents where not available.
* The importance of rewriting the Commissioner’s Regulations to reflect these changes.
* The importance of World Languages in 21st century skills.

Hopefully working together we can make our voices and concerns heard in Albany and get some answers to our questions.


Sue Hochmuth
NYSAFLT President

Dateline: August 26, 2010 – NYSAFLT has received many inquires as of late as to the status of the SLP and Comprehensive examinations in all available languages for the 2010-2011 school year and beyond. NYSAFLT has received no new news as of today. We will keep you updated via this web page, the Members Only listserv and our Facebook page as news is shared with us. Please view this message below from Steven Katz at NYSED:

With regards to the recent elimination of the Second Language Proficiency Examinations and the Regents Comprehensive Examinations in German, Hebrew, and Latin, schools _do not_ need to make any significant changes in student schedules. The Department will review current regulations to develop recommendations for the Board of Regents on proposed changes to Part 100.

With respect to the elimination of the Regents Comprehensive Examinations in German, Hebrew, and Latin, students who successfully complete coursework in these languages and earn units of credit may apply those credits towards the requirements for a Regents Diploma or Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation.

We will provide further information on these matters as it becomes available.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Steven Katz,
Edward S. Marschilok, Ph.D.

Dateline: August 9, 2010 – A message from Sue Hochmuth, NYSAFLT President regarding clarification on LOTE requirements for graduation:

NYSAFLT has been in contact with the New York State Education Department in order to clarify the implications of the elimination of the Second Language Proficiency Exams and the Regents Exams in German, Hebrew, and Latin. What we know at this time is that the graduation requirement still stands. The regulations still require students to complete two units of study of Checkpoint A LOTE and to earn one high school credit by the end of ninth grade. Also, one way to earn a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation is for the student to complete two additional sequential units in a language other than English including taking and passing the NYS Regents Exam in the language studied (3 LOTE credits total).

Several offices of the State Education Department are working together to develop a guidance statement which should be released within a month. One major unanswered question is whether local assessments can be used in lieu of the eliminated Proficiency and Regents Exams. Various options were explored regarding the creation of local assessments. According to current regulations, any locally written assessments to be used for Regents credit must be created by an entity other than a local school district. Alternatives such as BOCES, language associations, and regional consortia were discussed as possibilities to lead in creating these exams.

I wish I could give you more definitive answers at this time but the State Education Department does not have those answers yet. We will continue to stay in contact with them and keep you posted as new information comes available. Please remember though at this time that the mandate has not changed.

At this time, you may want to contact your school administration and guidance counselors and emphasize that no drastic changes to programs should be taken at this point. When further information comes from SED, we will know better how to proceed.

Dateline: August 9, 2010 – A Message from Kin at OBE-FLS:

Good morning,

Many teachers, administrators, students, and concerned parents have called or written to us with questions concerning the elimination of the Checkpoint A Second Language Proficiency Exams in French, German, Italian, Latin and Spanish as well as the Checkpoint B Comprehensive Regents Exams in German, Hebrew, and Latin. In addition, many of you are also asking whether the graduation requirements in LOTE will be amended or eliminated as a result of these changes in State assessments.

First, let me begin by apologizing to everyone in advance because I will not be able to respond to each of you individually. As it stands this morning, I have some 150 emails from the field concerning these issues.

Second, the State Education Department (SED) is in the process of developing guidance to the field that would answer your questions. Please note that we are in close contact with the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers (NYSAFLT) as well in this process.

We hope to complete this document by the end of the month, before the start of the new school year. I ask for your patience and I would really appreciate it if you could forward this message to your colleagues.

I will let you know as soon as I have any information to share.

Dateline: August 9, 2010 – NYSAFLT’s John Carlino and Sue Hochmuth comment on their opposition to elimination of the SLP examinations –

Dateline – August 5, 2010 – NYSAFLT received a memo from John King, Jr. detailing the eliminations of the LOTE SLP exams as well as German, Hebrew and Latin Comprehensive examinations. NYSAFLT urges members and non-members to connect with their administrators and urge them to connect with their colleagues at the BOCES and NYSED levels to determine how credit will be awarded in the future.

Dateline: July 16, 2010 – NYSAFLT’s John Carlino and Sue Hochmuth comment on their opposition to elimination of the SLP examinations –

Dateline: July 8, 2010 – NYSAFLT encourages New York State LOTE students to send letters to Regents, Legislators and Senators showing their support for LOTE in the 21st Century. Links to specific individuals at the State level can be found by clicking on the June 22, 2010 link below.

Dateline: July 4, 2010 – NYSAFLT has released a press release regarding its position on the recent Board of Regents proposal.

Dateline: June 22, 2010 – NYSAFLT has learned that the Board of Regents plans to move on the recommendations brought forth to them at their June meetings. Click here for more details.

Dateline: June 21, 2010 – NYSED Board of Regents committee has approved assessment cost reductions. Click here for more details. (Word document)

Dateline: June 8, 2010 – NYSAFLT has learned that the Board of Regents has included on their agenda the possible reduction and/or elimination of LOTE SLP and Regents exams. Click here for more details.