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Decision No. 13,256

Appeal of WALTER G. BERKLEY, on behalf of MICHAEL W. BERKLEY, from action of Robert Knapp, Superintendent for Millbrook Central School District regarding admission to a Regents examination.

Decision No. 13,256

(September 14, 1994)

Shaw & Silveira, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, Garrett L. Silveira, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the refusal of Robert Knapp, Superintendent of the Millbrook Central School District, to permit petitioner's son to take the Regents examination in Earth Science. The appeal must be dismissed.

During the 1993-94 school year, petitioner's son Michael was a student at the Millbrook Junior-Senior High School. At the end of May 1994, petitioner was informed that Michael had failed to adequately complete certain assignments in his Regents Earth Science class and that consequently, Michael would not be permitted to take the Regents examination in that course. On June 9, 1994, petitioner commenced this appeal and requested an interim order directing that Michael be allowed to take the examination. Petitioner's request for interim relief was denied on June 16, 1994.

Section 8.2(c) of the Rules of the Board of Regents provides that only those students "who have satisfactorily met the laboratory requirements as stated in the State syllabus for a science shall be admitted to a Regents examination in such science." The State syllabus requires 30 periods of laboratory work with successfully written reports for all Regents science courses. In the Millbrook district, students are required to submit a science portfolio to satisfy the written report portion of the State syllabus laboratory requirement.

Petitioner contends that Michael was improperly excluded from the Earth Science Regents examination. Specifically, he contends that Michael was mislead or insufficiently apprised of his progress on his portfolio assignment and that the submitted portfolio warrants a higher grade. Respondent denies those allegations.

Grading policies and practices are a matter in which local school authorities have considerable discretion (Education Law '1709[3]; Appeal of Hermus, 30 Ed Dept Rep 404; Matter of Ravnitsky, 18 id. 83). I will not ordinarily substitute my judgment for that of local school authorities regarding a student's grade absent a clear showing that the determination was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable (Appeal of Hermus, supra; Appeal of Kelly, 28 Ed Dept Rep 553). Upon the record before me, I find no basis to conclude that respondent's determination in this matter was either arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable.

Petitioner fails to allege any facts to support his argument that Michael was not apprised of his progress on his portfolio assignment or that he deserved a higher grade for his portfolio. Petitioner merely asserts that Michael's portfolio merits a higher grade. Moreover, the record indicates that Michael failed to complete and organize an adequate portfolio, despite being made aware of the project requirements. In addition, Michael failed to correct errors which his teacher pointed out to him in previous evaluations of his work. The record also shows that Michael was afforded the opportunity for extra help after school. Accordingly, there is no basis to grant the relief requested by petitioner.