Longietti supports delayed Keystone Exams as graduation requirement

HARRISBURG, Nov. 18 – Citing multiple possible hindrances, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, yesterday voted to report out of the House Education Committee legislation that would delay the implementation of the Keystone Exams until the 2018-19 school year. 

"Implementation of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement was a product of the Pennsylvania Board of Education without legislative input,” Longietti said. “It’s time that we take a step back and fully assess this requirement, particularly with a new school funding formula on the horizon and the costs to school districts in terms of time and staffing.”

Senate Bill 880, which was reported unanimously out of the committee, would delay the implementation from the 2016-17 school year as current law calls for. Current law would require passing scores on Keystone Exams in Algebra I, Literature and Biology as a condition of graduation. If a passing score is not achieved after two attempts at the exam, a project-based assessment is required.

The committee also unanimously adopted an amendment that would ensure that students taking the project-based assessment were not prohibited or hampered in their ability to pursue career and technical education, as well as require the Pennsylvania Education Department to investigate alternative methods for students to demonstrate proficiency for graduation in addition to the Keystone Exams.

“School officials at Reynolds School District impressed upon me how project-based assessments have precluded students from pursuing career and technical education opportunities and I am gratified that the amendment will help address that real concern,” Longietti said. “We all have the same end goal in this – to ensure our students are properly prepared for life after high school – and this legislation will help us make sure we’re reaching that goal in the most practical way possible.”