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Keystone Exams/Policies


What are Keystone Exams?

The Pennsylvania Department of Education defines the Keystone Exams as: End-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in various subjects. Keystone exams are administered in Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature. The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania’s proposed system of high school graduation requirements. Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards.  Overall student scores are reflected in the Future PA Ready Index posted on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

What do Keystone scores mean?

The Keystone Exams in Literature, Algebra I, and Biology are end-of-course statewide exams, regardless of grade, and are the assessments that Pennsylvania uses to comply with accountability requirements in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Students are required to take Keystone Exams for purposes of federal accountability. Each state is expected to achieve a minimum of 95 percent participation on its statewide exams. Best Keystone proficiency level will be reported on official transcripts for English, Algebra I, and Literature.

All Pennsylvania students who take the Keystone Exams will earn one of the following score assessments: Advanced, Proficient, Basic, Below Basic.

Once a student passes an exam (Proficient or Advanced), they do not have to retake the exam. If a student scores Basic or Below Basic, Charter Arts provides additional support and remediation through continued course work and tutoring before the student retakes the exam. Students are expected to retest at least once to attempt proficiency on each exam.

Students in the Class of 2023, and all classes after 2023, are required by The Pennsylvania Department of Education to meet the requirements of Act 158 in order to graduate. Act 158, which was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on October 24, 2018, expanded the options for students to demonstrate postsecondary readiness using additional pathways that more fully illustrate college, career, and community readiness.

Below are the five designated graduation pathways that students can utilize to meet statewide graduation requirements.

  • Pathway 1 – Keystone Proficiency
  • Pathway 2 – Keystone Composite
  • Pathway 3 – Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrator
  • Pathway 4 – Alternative Assessment
  • Pathway 5 – Evidence-Based

CLICK HERE for more information regarding the five Pathways to Graduation.

For additional questions, please contact our School Assessment Coordinator, Ann Marie Squerrini, asquerrini@charterarts.org.