The Keystones: Why Assessment Scores Are More Serious Than Some Think

There are those who dismiss Octorara’s assessment scores, but you need to read this from the Pennsylvania Department of Education:

Keystone Exams are end–of-course assessments in designated content areas. The Keystone Exams serve two purposes: (1) high school accountability assessments for federal and state purposes, and (2) high school graduation requirements for students beginning with the class of 2017. The Algebra I and Literature Keystone Exams include items written to the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts. The Biology Keystone Exam includes items written to the Assessment Anchor/Eligible Content aligned to the enhanced Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science. [link]

Now consider that on the 2011-12 PSAA tests, of Octorara 11th graders

  • 39.1% were below proficient in Math,
  • 27.2% were below proficient in Reading, and
  • 67.3% were below proficient in Science.

This is the state giving student’s their final exam. Now that achievement scores will be tied to graduation, they can no longer be arbitrarily discarded. They are no longer just a “relative ranking” for schools and districts, but an evaluation if an individual student has been sufficiently and successfully prepared to be allowed to graduate.


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