Keystone exams not required for graduation

PA removes Keystone Exam graduation requirement; A position lobbied hard by Scanlon other local ed leaders

In a letter to parents sent last week, Superintendent Jim Scanlon applauded the changes to the state’s graduation requirements. No longer reliant solely on Keystone Exam performance, new legislation allows alternate routes to a diploma.

The superintendent has long been an opponent of the mandatory requirement. You can read his full letter below. The latest on the status of the exams on the can be found here.

Dear Parents,

I am pleased to inform you that after years of debate, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has finally passed SB1095, essentially eliminating Keystone Exams as a mandatory graduation requirement. Governor Wolf plans to sign the bill into law. What does this mean for our high school students? The bill will allow school districts flexibility for students who do not pass all three Keystone exams in order to graduate. There will be several different pathways that students can use to graduate.

Those options include one of the following:

  • Pass all three Keystone Exams.
  • Pass Keystone Exams using a composite score as long as one of the test scores is proficient or higher.
  • Pass district coursework, with additional evidence as part of the career portfolio.
  • Pass alternate tests such as the NOTCI, NIMS, ACT, SAT, AP
  • Pass via goals written in a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

SB1095 also eliminates the Project Based Assessment as an option to graduate. These new requirements will go into effect for the graduating class of 2022 (the current 9th-grade class.)

I have been a staunch opponent of standardized tests like the Keystone exams being used as a graduation requirement, have testified before the House Education Committee about it, and participated in drafting the plans that became SB1095. Thanks to all the parents and staff who reached out to legislators to let them know that our children’s abilities extend far beyond standardized tests results!  

Seniors still have rigorous standards to meet in order to graduate, upholding the West Chester Area School District’s mission to educate and inspire our students to achieve their personal best. The passage of SB1905 simply allows for more ways to accomplish that mission.

Thank you,

Jim Scanlon, Superintendent

More education news: West Chester is building a new school!

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