McGarrigle Bill Providing Alternatives to Keystone Exam Graduation Requirements Set for Enactment

Harrisburg – Legislation sponsored by Senator Tom McGarrigle (R-26) providing students with alternatives to Keystone Exams to fulfill high school graduation requirements received final legislative approval today and is set for enactment into law.

Senate Bill 1095 will offer students who do not score proficient on Keystone exams alterative pathways to demonstrate their readiness to graduate from high school. Today’s approval by the Senate means the bill now goes to Gov. Tom Wolf to be signed into law.

“The reason I introduced Senate Bill 1095 was to return graduation requirements to their original intent. The purpose of graduation requirements is to ensure students can show proficiency in the knowledge and skills relevant to their individual career pathways,” McGarrigle said. “Keystone Exams shouldn’t be the sole factor in determining high school graduation because it does not measure the range of aptitude needed to be successful in college or the workplace.”

The Keystone Exam graduation requirement has been delayed until the 2020-21 school year. The alternate graduation options McGarrigle’s legislation proposes would take effect when the Keystone exam delay expires.

Under Senate Bill 1095, students would have to meet one of the following requirements to graduate:

  • Meet or exceed a composite score across Keystone exams in algebra I, biology, and literature, and demonstrate at least “basic” performance on each of the three exams;
  • Meet or exceed local grade requirements in subjects tested by the Keystone exams and complete a subject-specific advanced placement, international baccalaureate, or armed services vocational aptitude test, gain acceptance in a registered apprenticeship program, or attain a career readiness certificate;
  • Meet or exceed local grade requirements in subjects tested by the Keystone exams and present at least three pieces of evidence from the student’s career portfolio, which is required for federal accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Senate Bill 1095 was the culmination of recommendations from the Department of Education and collaboration with leaders in the education community, including teachers and administrators.

“Enactment of Senate Bill 1095 will send the message that the endless regimen of standardized tests is not enough to demonstrate proficiency. Worse, it threatens to leave too many children behind,” McGarrigle said.  “What the General Assembly has done will go a long way toward ensuring that schools measure actual proficiency and produce graduates prepared for college and career.”

 

CONTACT:    Mike Rader mrader@pasen.gov (717) 787-1305