Preparations Underway for Keystone Exams Instead of PSSA Tests

(August 26)–Students entering their junior year of high school in Pennsylvania will be girding up for new tests, the Keystone Exams.

The Keystones are subject-based tests in Algebra I, Biology and Literature, said Tim Eller, a spokesman for the state Department of Education. The plan is for juniors to take the exams instead of the PSSA tests that had previously been given, said Eller.

While the state is still awaiting federal approval for the change, Eller does not anticipate any problems. Students in lower grades will also take Keystone exams as they complete the subjects and those exams will be required for graduation beginning in 2017, he said. Their “scores will be banked for them,” he said. Compared to the PSSAs, “the Keystones are more rigorous and focused in the subject areas,” said Eller. Also, the Keystones are aligned with the state Common Core Standards, he said.

“We believe the Keystone Exams will provide a clearer representation of student performance,” Eller said. Beginning with 2017, students will need to pass those three subjects to graduate. By 2019, students will need to pass those exams, plus an additional exam in Composition. And by 2020, students will be required to pass those four exams, plus Civics and Government, Eller said.

Click here to read the full article by Linda Stein published on (August 26, 2012)


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