PBAT FAQs


What is a Regents waiver?

A Regents waiver is permission, granted by the NY State Board of Regents to graduate HS students by performance based aka portfolio assessment. Students must do a minimum of PBATs (performance based assessment tasks) in four subjects (ELA, SS, Math, and Science) and their performance is evaluated according to a rubric created by the Performance Standards Consortium.  Students may also complete additional PBATs in Spanish and Art/Music.


Is a PBAT easier than a Regents Exam?

No. Definitely not. They require significant instruction and preparation, high level reading, writing, thinking, revision, and presentation skills. They require students to demonstrate subject mastery that indicates readiness for college.


What are the advantages PBATs provide for students? Why do them instead of Regents? 

PBATs and the work that leads up to them prepare students for the tasks they will need to do in college: research, information gathering, application and analysis, presentation, and defense of individual thinking. Many students struggle in college because they cannot manage a college level reading load, cannot write on a college level, and do not feel comfortable expressing themselves in academic discussions. PBATs develop all of these skills. 


Who sits on a PBAT panel?

The student presents to a panel typically composed of the student's PBAT mentor (the teacher who supervised the writing of the PBAT), a teacher who has had the student before, a teacher who may not have had the student before, a support staff member (Guidance Counselor, administrator, etc.), peers of the student whom s/he has invited, family members (optional), and/or an outside evaluator.  There are a minimum of three adults on a student's panel who are official panelists - any additional adults or panelists are requested to be silent supporters.


What is the Performance Standards Consortium?

The Consortium is a coalition of high schools across New York State, that has pioneered the creation of educational communities synonymous with active student learning, exemplary professional development and innovative curriculum and teaching strategies for 21st century students. Many of our schools and leaders have been nationally recognized through such honors as New American High Schools, 21st Century Schools, Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, and Compact for Learning Schools. Consortium schools have devised a system of assessment, which consists of eight components including alignment with state standards, professional development, external review, and formative and summative data. Consortium schools have documented how their work meets and exceeds New York State Regents standards through a system of rigorous commencement-level performance-based assessment tasks. Performance on these tasks is reflected on student transcripts and results are used for college admission. The tasks require students to demonstrate accomplishment in analytic thinking, reading comprehension, research writing skills, the application of mathematical computation and problem-solving skills, computer technology, the utilization of the scientific method in undertaking science research, appreciation of and performance skills in the arts, service learning and school to career skills. Experts external to the schools, from universities and the business world, participate in reviews of student work. The Performance Assessment Review Board, Inc., an external body of educators, test experts, researchers and members of the legal and business world, monitors the performance-based assessment system and systematically samples student work." You can learn more about the Consortium at www.performanceassessment.org


What are some other schools in NYC are in the Consortium and have waivers?

  • Beacon HS
  • James Baldwin School^*
  • Humanities Prep^
  • Global Studies
  • East Side Community HS
  • Essex Street Academy*
  • New Day Academy*
  • Landmark HS
  • Vanguard HS
  • School of the Future
  • Urban Academy
  • ICE
^*James Baldwin and Humanities Prep, like BCS, are also Expeditionary Learning Schools.
* indicates that like, BCS, this school was just granted a waiver.


Why did BCS get a waver?

  • It is a member of the Performance Standards Consortium
  • Our staff participated in last year's Moderation Study
  • Our staff participates in Consortium PD
  • We attended and represented our school at Consortium meetings
  • Demonstrated interest in and progress toward implementing a system of performance assessment
  • We use the Consortium's DYO periodic assessments

What kind of diploma will our students get?

Students who complete all the requirements as stated in the waiver get a NY State Regents Diploma. It looks just like any other Regents diploma.


How long will this waiver last?

It will last at least through 2014. Other schools in the Consortium have had these waivers since 1995. Their waivers have been renewed and our waiver can also be renewed.


When is the waiver effective?

It is effective immediately. Our current 11th and 12th grade classes will graduate with a blend of Regents and PBATs. Our current 9th and 10th graders and all future incoming classes will be expected to graduate with five PBATs (four in core subjects and one other subject). They will also have to demonstrate competency in library/research and technology use. There are other graduation requirements specific to BCS.


Will our students have to take any Regents exams?

The waiver states that our students must take the ELA regents and get a minimum grade of 65. No other Regents are required. (Students who get a grade of 75 or above on the ELA Regents do not need to take remedial English at CUNY colleges. Those with grades below 75 must take remedial English if they go to a CUNY college.)


What are the grades a student can receive on a PBAT and do these convert to numerical grades?

  • Exemplary - 95
  • Accomplished - 85
  • Competent - 75
  • No Mastery/Failing - 55


How can I, a parent, get involved and support BCS and performance assessment?

  • Volunteer to be on a PBAT panel - we'll send out a notice when we need panelists
  • Join Time Out From Testing: www.timeoutfromtesting.org
  • Volunteer to coach/support a BCS student who needs help preparing a PBAT paper or presentation

Please feel free to contact Alyce or Scill if you have any further questions about our waiver.