Gary Rubinstein was curious about  how students in the Success Academy high school fared on the mandatory state Regents examinations. He called and called to state offices, but he got a run-around. Two days after he blogged about it, he learned the answer to his question: Success Academy, which is celebrated for producing high test scores, has an exemption from the state so its high school students do not have to take the Regents exams required of all others. (The only exception to the mandate is a group of small, project-based schools called The Consortium schools, who offer portfolio assessments instead of state tests; they received an exemption about 20 years ago.)


Eva Moskowitz, the CEO of the SA charter chain, receives millions of dollars from benefactors every year in recognition of the high test scores of her charters.


Success Academy has gotten so much attention (and money) for their high 3-8 test scores that it is only natural to wonder how the few older students they have in their schools have fared after 8th grade. One thing we know is that Success Academy eighth graders have not done well on the specialized high school entrance exam to gain admissions to one of the eight specialized high schools. They have had three cohorts of students take the entrance exam and the first two cohorts had no students gain admission and the third cohort had six students out of two hundred eligible gain admission to one of the eight specialized high schools.


Rubinstein found this very puzzling: Why would a school that prided itself on turning students into “little test-taking machines” avoid the Regents exams? He has a few theories about that. Read his post to find out what he believes explains this special case of avoiding the required tests.