Whether we agree with some of the definitions or formats, I think we can agree that the test is not well-written. There shouldn't be so much controversy. As well, the scores should mean something so the public will understand and have confidence in the scores that are assigned. That is not happening.
And whether or not students pick up the nuances in these poorly written questions, I am embarrassed as an educator at the questions and answers.
Luckily, I am now in a private school. While we have given Regents diplomas in the past, we will now look into going independent of the state tests. Our students can use SAT II's to demonstrate high levels of competency.
If you look at other subjects, the tests and conversions will destroy all public confidence.
For example, on US History, you can get from 1 through 9 points off on the short answers and get a 99%. In the English Regents, everything correct but 1 point off on an essay and you drop to 94%.
There was a time when our Regents exams were well written and measured the level of learning in the course. The number of questions matched the relative worth of each section. For example, trig would be a big part of the Alg II/ Trig test.
It is a final exam and the students should feel they can expect to be tested on what the topics are in the relative proportion of how much time we devote to it. And the time we devote to it should be how the state curriculum assigns as a percentage of the course.