State changes Keystone rules


Staff Writers

Current juniors and sophomores in Pennsylvania no longer have to pass the Keystone Exams to graduate under new state and district guidelines, but freshmen and future classes will.
As a result, Keystone remediation classes for juniors and sophomores this semester have been discontinued, with those students getting to choose an elective or study hall. Principal Dr. Walter Graves said students who have failed the Keystones will have to retake the tests, although passing them is not a requirement to graduate.
“Under district requirements, students will have to retake the tests they fail,” Graves said. “The scores will still appear on student transcripts.”
The Keystone requirement was never going to apply to this year’s seniors, but teachers and students from other grade levels are curious as to how the change will pertain to them.
One thing that is remaining the same is the preparation work for students who are going to take each Keystone for the first time. English teachers will still be prepping the sophomores to pass their Keystone literature exam on the first try, and freshmen will still be required by the state to pass the algebra and biology Keystones to graduate.
Some teachers agreed with the decision to postpone the requirement, because teachers never get to see any standardized tests before or after the tests are taken.
“Teachers never see what the full tests look like, yet they are held accountable for how the students perform,” Dr. Lisa Klein, an English teacher, said.
There are mixed opinions among teachers as to how this year’s sophomores will perform on the test now that the graduation requirement has been lifted for them, though scores will appear on transcripts.
“I don’t think students will try as hard on the exams because they don’t need them to graduate,” English teacher Krystal Schulte said.                                                                                                                                  Math teacher Maria Hausman, whose class consists mostly of freshmen who will need to pass the exam, said she thought students would still try their best.                                                                                                 “I think that they will still want the satisfaction of passing,” Hausman said.
Several students who had been in the Keystone remediation classes, meanwhile, said the courses had been academically helpful.
Sophomore Jake Panchak took the remediation class for biology.
After completing the course, Panchak retook the biology Keystone test. Though results of that test have not yet been reported, Panchak feels confident.
“The class definitely helped,” Panchak said. “I think I did better on the test.”
Sophomore Dan Figura was put in the remediation class for algebra.
Based on his schedule, when the remediation classes were discontinued, he was given the option to take an elective or study hall.
“The (remediation) class helped me understand the subject more, but I’m glad that I’m taking a study hall now,” Figura said.