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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 24, 2017 01:01 PM
From: Senator Thomas H. Killion
To: All Senate members
Subject: Keystone Exams
I plan to introduce legislation that would provide districts with alternative methods for students to demonstrate readiness for high school graduation, based on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Findings and Recommendations Pursuant to Act 1 of 2016 report submitted to the General Assembly in August 2016.

At the request of the General Assembly, the Department of Education, prepared this report with the help of educational professional across the state/ The report was requested because there was question as to whether the Keystone Exams where going to be able to accomplish the intended goal. What we learned was that in some cases, the high-stakes testing posed a significant challenge for a notable segment of students who otherwise have demonstrated educational ability or career readiness.

As full implementation of the Keystone Exams moves closer, districts have shared alarming reports that indicate a significant number of students may not be eligible to graduate and be prevented from advancing on to the next phase of their life, even when job offers, college acceptance, or other types of service were waiting. The report identified several alternative methods that school districts can utilize to prove that a student is prepared for postsecondary educational opportunities or career success.

Specifically, my legislation would adopt and implement two of the four options for students to demonstrate postsecondary readiness as follows:

Option 3: Demonstrate competency in standards-based subject matter content through course grades or assessments plus, for students who are identified as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrators, demonstrate evidence of readiness for postsecondary success through National Occupancy Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI)/National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Skills assessments or Competency Certificates; and

Option 4: Demonstrate competency in standards-based subject matter content through course grades or assessments plus evidence related to postsecondary plans that demonstrate readiness to meaningfully engage in those plans.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation, and recognizing the need to tailor our state’s education policy to the needs and demands of these students.

Introduced as SB660