• Keystone Exam Overview

    What are the Keystone Exams?

    The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to evaluate proficiency in the academic content areas of Algebra I, English Literature, and Biology.

    Who will participate in the Keystone Exams?

    Students will take the Keystone Exams at or near the end of a Keystone-related course. The Keystone related courses are 10th grade English, Algebra I, and Biology.

    Any students who previously completed a Keystone-related course but we do not have a score on file for will also test.

    Additionally, any students who have already taken a Keystone Exam and did not score Proficient or Advanced will be provided the opportunity to retest.

    What types of questions are on the Keystone Exams?

    The Keystone Exams will include multiple-choice questions and constructed-response, or open-ended, questions. For each Keystone Exam, approximately 60 percent to 75 percent of the total score will be from multiple-choice questions and 25 percent to 40 percent of the total score will be from constructed-response questions.

    How is a student’s score determined and recorded?

    The student’s best overall score is determined by calculating the highest overall module score from any exam (each Keystone Exam consists of two modules). Each student’s best overall score will be banked until their 11th grade year, where it will be reported for the Pennsylvania Future Ready Index, school, state and county wide accountability data.

    These scores can also be used in meeting the Pennsylvania Academic Proficiency Requirements set forth in Act 158 for graduation.

    Are the Keystone Exams a graduation requirement for my student?

    Participation in state assessments, particularly Keystone Exams, remains part of the federal accountability requirement.

    Scoring Proficient or Advanced on Keystone Exams is also the first measure used in meeting the Pennsylvania Academic Proficiency Requirements set forth in Act 158 for graduation.

    Keystone Retesting

    Students who do not score Proficient on the Keystone exam may retake the exam until the completion of their Junior year.

    When will this year’s Keystone Exams be held?

    We routinley host Keystone Exams two times during the year. End of Course Exams are held during May. Retesting is done during December or January as well as during the End of Course window in May.

    May parents see the Keystone Exams?                   

    Parents and guardians may review the Keystone Exams if they believe they may be in conflict with their religious beliefs by making arrangements with the School Assessment Coordinator once the exams arrive at the school. Confidentiality agreements must be signed, and no copies of the Keystone Exams, notes about, or photos of the exam questions will be permitted to leave the school.       

    What if I want to opt my student out of the Keystone Exams?

    If, after reviewing the Keystone Exams, parents or guardians do not want their child to participate in one or all of the exams due to a conflict with their religious beliefs, they may write a letter specifying their objection to the School Assessmnet Coordinator to request their child be excused from the exam(s).

    Being excused from participation in the Keystone Exams does not excuse the student from meeting the Pennsylvania Academic Proficiency Requirements set forth in Act 158 for graduation.

    What if I do not want my student retested in the same subject?

    If your student has already taken the exam and was not proficient, you may request that they not be retested. To do this you must submit a signed letter to the School Assessment Coordinator specifying this request. This letter will not exclude students from taking exams in which they have not already tested.

    Students who choose not to retest will still need to meet the Pennsylvania Academic Proficiency Requirements set forth in Act 158 for graduation. However, they will not be able to meet it using the Keystone Exam Proficieny Pathway

    For example: If Student A took the Algebra I Keystone Exam in 9th Grade and you wish for them not to take it again, a letter must be provided to the School Assessment Coordinator.

    Who is the School Assessment Coordinator?

    Currently the School Assessment Coordinator role is filled by the High School Assistant Principal.

    What are the Pennsylvania Academic Proficiency Requirements?

    The Pennsylvania Academic Proficiency Requirements are statewide requirements that students must meet in order to earn their diploma. The Department of Education laid out five differnt pathways for students to meet these requirements: The Keystone Proficiency Pathway, The Keystone Composite Score Pathway, The CTE Concentrator Pathway, The Alternative Assessment Pathway, and the Evidenced Based Pathway.

    More details about these requirements can be found in the High School Program of Study or at www.pgsd.org/Act158

    Where can I find resources to review for the Keystone Exams?

    Resources for review can be found on the lefthand side of this page.