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PORTFOLIOS WON'T REPLACE REQUIRED ENGLISH EXAMS

A portfolio test -- in which students write longer papers, give oral presentations and answer questions from teachers -- won't replace the tough new English exams that seniors must pass to graduate, state Education Commissioner Richard Mills says.

Mills, who as Vermont education commissioner introduced the use of student portfolios for assessment, decided Wednesday that New York schools can't use portfolio tests.

"Alternative assessments are not approved for use," he said, rejecting a request from the New York Performance Standards Consortium to allow students using the portfolio as their senior tests to graduate.

Some educators and lawmakers have called for students to have more options for their final test than just the state-approved standardized exam.

Starting in 2003, the state will require public school students to pass five Regents exams -- in English, math, American history, global studies and a science -- to receive a diploma. The requirements are being phased in, with one subject added each year.

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