Graduation Requirement on Hold for Keystone Exams

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HAZLETON -- Hazleton Area High School has more than 3,300 students and up until now they and other high school students in Pennsylvania were required to pass the Keystone Exams in order to graduate.

That requirement came to a halt when the governor signed a law on Wednesday that put the requirement on hold for two years.

The governor's office says statewide a growing number of students were failing to demonstrate proficiency on the exams that test algebra, biology and literature.

"To have a single assessment if you will, one size fits all, high-stakes exam that determines a students graduation or lack of graduation, I think is ill-advised," Hazleton Area School District superintendent, Dr. Craig Butler said.

Students that have already taken the Keystone Exams admit it was a very difficult exam.

They are hoping without the graduation requirement,  students will have more time to get prepared.

"I came into high school knowing the typical you had to do a graduation project to graduate. When we heard that we have to pass these standardized tests to graduate. It was kind of like you really need to work a little hard," high school senior, Angela LaRose said.

Principal Rocco Petrone thinks delaying the graduation requirement for the Keystone Exams will be beneficial for those who struggle to reach proficiency in all three subjects.

"They would have been required to do an online project for each of the three exams in the Keystone area that they didn't reach proficiency," Petrone said.

Along with delaying the Keystone Exam's graduation requirement, the law also requires the Department of Education to look into other ways of achieving proficiency on the exam.

"We have to do our due diligence regardless of what they are going to do at the state level. Let's get our kids ready for the real world, regardless if the Keystones count for graduation or not," Petrone said.

The graduation requirement is delayed until the 2018-2019 school year.

8 comments

  • Roy B.

    I’m from N.Y., We had State exams all through High School. If we didn’t pas the exam then we had to take that course over. Grow up, Suck it up, and stop teaching the Idea of ease!

    • BZ22

      For example, a freshman can pass algebra in the class room but not pass it on the Keystone exams. They’re eligible to take geometry, etc., the next school year but have to continue taking the Keystone exam in algebra until they pass it and won’t receive their diploma if they don’t.

  • Marina

    this is good that they put a stop to this, i will be a senior next year and i will not have to deal with them. however, in 10th grade i had to go through these awful remediation classes for both the algebra and bio keystones (i failed the bio keystone by TWO points, absolutely pointless!). i am happy that they are out of my hair but im also disappointed that i had to give up my class electives just to take these courses. they are now on my transcript and i feel though as if it will hurt me when i apply for colleges now.

  • Ali

    Somehow, I think this is another ploy to dump more $$$’s into pre K-12 education expenses. How much of what we are already spending on education is being squandered? I have read that for every additional $1.00 collected from property taxes, $0.70 will go to pension contributions. That is not much left for the classrooms. Does spending more $$$ equate to better results? Until you convince me of that, I am unwilling to absorb property tax increases, year after year, that are higher than the Act 1 limits. Take note….the majority of school districts seeking an Act 1 exception cite pensions and special ed costs as the main drivers. How may of us will eventually be taxed out of our homes? Read some of Eugene DePasqualle’s audits on some of these school districts. Get your houses in order before asking for additional $$$$.

  • vforba

    Another standardized test should not be necessary. Give them the GED. or better yet if they test proficiently on the SATs why have to take another test.

  • rnasca

    Let’s cut to the chase here. This is payback by Wolf to the PSEA (the state teachers union) for their support in getting him elected. The exams have been a thorn in the side of the PSEA for years.

    • BZ22

      The Keystone exams are just being instituted. All we do is teach to exams that the State requires and one more is not going to prove anything. If a student’s grades are proficient throughout high school, why should one test keep them from receiving a diploma?

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