Starting with this year’s high school freshmen, passing the Keystone exams is now a requirement for graduation. Thursday, parents, educators and school leaders in York got the chance to get their questions answered by someone who helped create the new exams.
Making the Keystone exams a requirement for graduation has stirred a lot of controversy, but it’s now a reality that students and their parents must face.
Beginning with the class of 2017, students will have to show proficiency when tested on Algebra I, Literature and Biology, in order to get their diploma.
For many parents, like Karen Rollins-Fitch, the new standards are creating some anxiety.
“The concept has been around, not for an extended period of time, but for a little bit of time,” she said. “But there’s still confusion among parents, and I think, students about what needs to be done.”
Rollins-Fitch and State Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-95th District, hosted a Q & A to address these concerns at William Penn High School.
Pennsylvania Department of Education consultant Rich Maraschiello explained that the Keystone exams replace the PSSA 11th graders were previously required to take.
He said these exams differ from the PSSA by testing students on a subject they learned that school year, instead of subjects over several years.
Maraschiello added that students who don’t pass the first time will get help.
“They’ll have multiple opportunities to retake that exam,” he said. “They’ll have opportunity in the school to get supplemental instructional support and then re-test.”
Students in good standing who fail the exam twice can choose to complete a project instead.
Representative Schreiber plans to hold other Keystone exam Q &A’s in other parts of his district in the future.