Districts worry about timing of Keystone Exams– Officials favor new tests but fear subjects may not be fresh in kids’ minds

High school juniors may have to dig deep into the recesses of their memories in the upcoming school year, thanks to a new state testing system.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has announced the new Keystone Exams will replace the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSA, tests for 11th-graders. The state has used the PSSAs to meet testing requirements in the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Juniors will take the Keystone Exams – which are designed to be “end of course” exams – in literature, algebra and biology. The PSSAs are given in math and reading.

While local school officials applauded the move to the Keystone Exams, some said the last-minute rollout could create problems.

Dr. Martin D. Handler, Brandywine Heights superintendent, said students take courses like algebra or biology at different times in their school careers.

“We may have a junior who hasn’t seen algebra since seventh grade,” he said.

Dr. Randall A. Grove, Conrad Weiser superintendent, said he’s a strong supporter of the Keystone Exams, but he echoed Handler’s concerns. He said most Weiser students take algebra in ninth grade, meaning the material will likely be a little stale by the time it’s tested in 11th grade.

Click here to read the full article published in the Reading Eagle (August 11, 2012).


Comments are closed.