Pushing Back Keystones

Keystone Exams no longer a graduation requirement

Keystone Testing logo shown above.


Keystone Testing logo shown above.

JoAnn Sharpless, Managing Editor (Online)

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Keystone Exams are the standardized test in Pennsylvania used to evaluate students along with teachers and schools all across Pennsylvania. Students take these exams in English, Algebra and Biology. Many students are forced into remediation classes and extra testing because they did not pass or worse not being able to graduate due to not passing.

Keystone Exams are also used in order to judge and rank school districts. They are even used when it comes time for federal funding to determine which schools are more adequate than others. Both wealthy schools and worse off schools dislike the tests, due to it objectifying students and putting a price tag on education.

The Keystone Exams have been a hot controversial topic to many people, because not everyone agrees with the “all or nothing” approach they take. One of the most influential people who doesn’t support this approach would be Governor Tom Wolf, who on Oct. 16 signed a bill that would push back the graduation requirement until the 2022 school year.

This isn’t the first time though that the graduation requirement has been pushed back. In fact, it was supposed to be a graduation requirement for the class of 2017, but then got pushed to 2019 and now is 2022. This does not go without guidelines. Students must be able to show that they are receiving an education. This can be done through another form of education like showing they are proficient on the SAT, PSAT or ACT, passing an AP (Advanced Placement) Exam or an IB (International Baccalaureate) Exam, completing a dual enrollment program, completing an apprenticeship program, receive a letter of full-time employment or completing a service project, etc.

This doesn’t mean that Keystones will still not be administered to students in schools. Schools are still required by the Federal Government to conduct these tests in order to show that the school is working proficiently. This just gives schools the opportunity to be more creative with how to show that their students are proficient.

Without the added pressure of having to worry about the graduation requirement floating above their heads, students are able to focus on their future endeavors and what they want to do.

“I feel stressed that you have to take them, you really don’t know whether you are doing anything right. You can go into a field in the three different subjects they give you, but most people don’t really want to go and do that for a living,” junior Bella Badamo stated.

This new bill may just be the start to the end of the standardized. In the near future, it is possible that students may not have to worry about being judged unfairly, but rather be judged by their character.