On January 16, in the press release, State Senator Andy Dinniman announced he would introduce legislation to eliminate Keystone Exams as a graduate requirement.
The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments, designed by groups of educators from across the state, assess proficiency in the subject areas of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Literature, English Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History, and Civics and Government. However, only Algebra I, Literature, and Biology are currently being tested at this time.
The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania’s new system of high school graduation requirements. Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards.
In Dinniman’s press release, it was announced that he will introduce legislation to end passage of the Keystone Exams as high school graduation requirements because (in his opinion) they will only widen the growing gap between financially distressed and more affluent high schools.
Today, I emailed State Senator Andy Dinniman my objection:
I am writing this morning to voice my opposition to your attempts to stop Standardized Testing as a Graduation Requirement, as stated in a Press Release on your website.
I am a School Board Member at the Octorara Area School District, and I know all too well the financial burden it places on Schools.
I believe one of the biggest issues with education in America is that children are just pushed through the system, regardless if they are learning or not. There needs to be speed bumps.
Octorara’s Biology Keystones are in the tank, and we have a big problem. You are right when you say that it is costing School Districts, and it is a heavy burden for District’s like the one I serve, but the people of our community (in my opinion) need a wakeup call.
Removing the Keystones as a graduation requirement only protects poor performing schools. It does not help children. Without the tests being a requirement, they can be ignored, downplayed, or dismissed. The issue of poor performance becomes a subjective opinion, rather than an objective reality.
I am not writing today on behalf of the entire Octorara Area School Board, only expressing my own personal opinions. However, it is my hope that you reconsider your position, and not move forward with attempts to remove the Keystone tests as a graduation requirement.
Octorara Area School Director
You can email State Senator Andy Dinniman your questions, comments, and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him at his West Chester Office at (610) 692-2112.