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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 8, 2018 11:19 AM
From: Senator Thomas J. McGarrigle
To: All Senate members
Subject: Graduation Requirements

I will soon introduce legislation that continues the important work of establishing a more thoughtful approach to high-stakes testing and graduation requirements.

Just last year, the General Assembly unanimously approved a new law providing students in career and technical education programs alternatives to required proficiency on the Keystone Exams for graduation.
This was an important step in recognizing that success after graduation looks different for each student and that requiring a high-stakes, one-size-fits-all pathway to graduation does not provide an accurate representation of students’ abilities or likelihood for success in the future.

With the delay in the Keystone Exam graduation requirement set to expire in the 2019-20 school year, schools are uncertain about how to plan programming. Students are constantly asked “what are your plans after high school?” but they have no direction on what will be expected of them to graduate, or if they will meet those inflexible and ill-conceived expectations on time.

My legislation will not reinstate the Keystone Exam graduation requirement. However, in any school year in which proficiency on Keystone Exams is required for high school graduation, my bill will provide students with several alternative pathways to demonstrate postsecondary readiness.

My proposal takes into account an individual student’s strengths, interests and career goals, while requiring the student to meet or exceed locally-established grade-based requirements and to demonstrate competency through other valid and accountable measurements.

This legislation represents both the groundwork laid by the Department of Education through the recommendations for graduation requirements in its Act 1 report, as well as extensive discussion and collaboration with the education community.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this crucial piece of legislation in order to bring much needed stability and a commonsense approach to measuring a student’s postsecondary readiness.

Introduced as SB1095