ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Students have endless options after they graduate high school but the problem for some is getting there. New York state is reviewing requirements to pass the Regents exams for students to graduate.

One of the other models under consideration is substituting Regents with performance-based assessment tests where students present on one topic of their choice, per subject.  

According to the New York State Education Department, Regents exams prevent 13.1% of high school students from graduating on time.

"It can feel like graduation is simply a barrier that's too high and just failing those exams or really struggling [can] make those kids more likely to drop out go school and simply give up," said Eamonn Scallion, education policy director with The Children's Agenda in Rochester.

New York is one of 11 states to require these forms of exit exams. Not everyone is in favor of these tests, blaming them for pushing students away from the bigger picture.

"It can act as a barrier because you're more focused on that exam than you are focused on challenging yourself and taking those advanced courses," said Scallion.

Standardized testing can discourage students like Jorlani Bullock.

"The pressure of the time and just memorizing what I've learned all year and then doing it at just the end of the year and one day is like, I don't know," said Bullock, a senior at Rochester's School Without Walls.

This pressure of being judged by a test score can frustrate some students.

"The testing, I really wasn't sure if I was ready for college doing all this testing," Bullock said. "I'm like, I'm not sure if I'm ready for this because the points I received on the testing. I'm like 'wow,' and I get all my work done throughout the year, but it's like when it's testing time, it's like, did I really learn everything that I've really learned?"

These doubts led her to the School Without Walls.

"School Without Walls is part of a group of schools called the New York Performance Standards Consortium and because of that we are exempt from all Regents exams except for the ELA," said Wasa Bouphavong, a social studies teacher at the school.

In place of passing Regents exams, students learn skills they can use in college, like researching and public speaking.

"In life, you know, there's not just one answer, one complete, one perfect answer," Bouphavong said. "We try to teach that there are multiple ways to get to wherever you want to go."

For Bullock, the different approach to her education has proved beneficial.

"I feel really good," she said. "This will prepare me for college. I'm not really as nervous to really get into college now. I feel like I'll be really good for right now."

Without the pressure of test taking, School Without Walls is helping students like Jorlani prepare for the future they chose.

"It's their love of learning and their exploration of learning that's most important," Scallion said. "So it's not just an artificial checking [of] certain boxes, it's that lifelong pursuit of learning."