Keystone Exams discussed in Canton
CANTON - Canton Area Junior-Senior High School is getting students ready for the Keystone Exams, according to high school principal Craig Coleman.
During the last school board meeting, Coleman talked to the board about the new, state-mandated exams.
"Obviously, Canton is not the only school district; every school district in the state is going through the same thing," he told the board.
Keystone Exams are rigorous, end-of-course assessments that are taken when a student completes courses in Algebra I, Biology and Literature, according to Tim Eller, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Education Press and Communications Office.
Beginning with the current school year, eleventh grade students will no longer take the PSSA, but will take the Keystone Exams to gauge Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Eller added, when asked for comment by The Daily Review.
"So, we have to obviously make plans for that," Coleman told the board. "Also, every student that currently is in an Algebra I course or a Biology course or an American Literature course also has to take the Keystone Exam, if they're not in eleventh grade. So, that's the mandate we've gotten from the state."
Coleman commented that students currently in ninth, tenth and eleventh grade will be taking all three of the Keystone Exams, at some point in time.
Furthermore, according to Eller, beginning this school year, the class of 2017 will be required to pass the three exams to graduate.
Coleman informed the board of this requirement.
The principal noted the situation that some students will be facing with the tests.
"We have kids, for example, that are going to be taking a Biology Keystone that haven't had Biology in two years," he said. At the meeting, one board member expressed concern about this requirement. As a result of the mandate, the teachers are preparing the students appropriately, Coleman said.
Coleman noted that it's a frustrating process, but teachers are doing a good job of "getting things in place," and are using the resources available to them to prepare the students.
"I can't tell you how much Study Island is very helpful with this," Coleman said, referring to an educational resource.
Also beginning this school year, the class of 2019 will be required to successfully complete the composition exam and the class of 2020 will need to show proficiency on the civics and government exam, Eller noted.
The State Board of Education is considering the development of five additional Keystone Exams for voluntary use in the subject areas of geometry, chemistry, algebra II, U.S. history and world history, he added.
Meanwhile, district superintendent Matt Gordon will make a presentation to the board about the district's latest AYP report, before the board's next regular meeting on Nov. 8.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.