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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 20, 2017 04:17 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman and Sen. John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Elimination of Keystone Exams
As Majority and Minority Chairman of the Senate Education Committee we are requesting your co-sponsorship of a bill that does the following:

First, our bill eliminates the Keystone Exams or any composite of these exams from being taken or used as a high school graduation requirement. Even the Department of Education (PDE) has stated that the "Keystone Exams are not a good predictor of college and career readiness".

Second, the bill says that in terms of federal accountability required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the curriculum aligned Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) can be used to fulfill that requirement or the SAT can be substituted by an aligned vocational test, an aligned GED test, or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVB) test. We also note the need for a test for students with severe cognitive disabilities. The Keystone Exams would not be available for the purpose of accountability.

Third, any test used shall not take more than two days of instructional time and it shall be scored and returned to the school entity within 30 days.

Fourth, accountability results shall be used as part of a comprehensive plan for a multi-faceted, wholistic, and rigorous approach to determine teacher evaluation and school performance, which would need to be included in any ESSA plan.

Fifth, the bill guarantees the right of parents to be notified of their right to opt their children out of any accountability test (a right recognized in the ESSA legislation). It also requires notification of the specific basis upon which an opt-out request can be made and states the obligation of school districts to respect parental rights concerning decisions with regards to their own children. Some school districts have created road blocks to recognizing parental rights.

Please join us in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB756