All across Pennsylvania students are required to participate in the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment Keystone Exams. Keystone Exams are designed to measure student performance on the Pennsylvania Core Standards related to the categories of writing, listening, speaking, science, and mathematics.
Starting with the graduating class of 2023 and beyond, students will be required to demonstrate proficiency or meet one of the graduation academic pathways in association with the Keystone End-of-Unit Exams prior to graduation as per The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and State Law Act 158 and Act 136.
The new state guidelines and graduation requirements from The Pennsylvania Department of Education Act 158 and Law Act 136 State Law are presented below. Specifically, according to the State Law ACT 158 and Act 136, ANY STUDENT WHO Earned a passing grade and successfully COMPLETED A COURSE IN AN ACADEMIC CONTENT AREA ASSOCIATED WITH A KEYSTONE EXAM at the end of the 2019-2020 School Year SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO TAKE THE KEYSTONE EXAM RELATED TO THAT COURSE AND SHALL BE DEEMED PROFICIENT for graduation purposes only. Any student who did not pass the End-of-Course Assessment Course in an academic content area associated with a keystone exam in the 2019-2020 school year and has not demonstrated proficiency on the Keystone Assessment is required to meet one of the below graduation pathways for a student in the graduating class of 2023 and beyond. First, students can achieve graduation pathways completion starting with achieving proficiency through a students assessment score and successfully passing the Academic Content Area Associated with the Keystone Exam:
Pass the Required Academic Content Area Associated with the Keystone Exam: Biology, Algebra I, English Course Grade Level 10
- Keystone Proficiency Pathway: Scoring proficient or advanced on each Keystone Exam – Algebra I, Literature, and Biology.
- Keystone Composite Pathway: Earning a composite score of 4452 on the Algebra I, Literature, and Biology Keystone Exams (while achieving at least a proficient score on at least one of the three exams and no less than a basic score on the remaining two).
According to ACT 158, graduates of the class of 2023 who do not meet proficiency or advance standings on the End-of-Unit Keystone exams will be required to provide evidence as per one of the testing pathways prior to graduation:
- Alternate Assessment Pathway: Completion of locally established grade-based requirements for academic content areas associated with each Keystone Exam on which the student did not achieve proficiency and an established score on an approved alternate assessment and additional evidence as defined by The Pennsylvania Department of Education.
- Evidence Based Pathway: Completion of locally established grade-based requirements for academic content areas associated with each Keystone Exam on which the student did not achieve proficiency and demonstration of three pieces of evidence consistent with the student’s goals and career plans, and additional evidence as defined by The Pennsylvania Department of Education.
- Career-Technology Pathway: Completion of locally established grade-based requirements for academic content areas associated with each Keystone Exam on which the student did not achieve proficiency and attainment of an industry-based competency certification related to the CTE Concentrator’s program of study, and additional evidence as defined by The Pennsylvania Department of Education.
In accordance with Act 158 and Act 136, statewide graduation requirements take effect with the class of 2023. Act 158 and Act 136 provides five options for meeting graduation requirements: (1) Keystone Proficiency Pathway, (2) Keystone Composite Pathway, (3) Alternate Assessment Pathway, (4) Evidence-Based Pathway, and (5) Career and Technical Education Pathway.
The first pathways are based solely on Keystone Exam scores, for that reason, all students, including any student enrolled in Biology, a 10th grade English course, or Algebra I during the spring of the 2019-20 school who did not successfully complete the Academic Content Area Class related to the Keystone Exam will have the opportunity to complete the end of unit test that was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note, dates may be subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic and PDE guidelines. In the event of a change, new test dates and information will be delivered and on-going.
Prior to the exams, material continues to be embedded in your student’s curriculum for preparation for the test. Additional study guides, remediation course work and practice material for the exams can be found at www.ambridge.k12.pa.us – Services – Guidance and Counseling – Please scroll to the bottom of the screen and select the Keystone Assessments tab. All additional keystone information and a power-point explaining each pathway can also be found at this location for your reference.
Additional information in regards to the graduation requirements for 2023 and beyond related to ACT 158 and the Keystone Exams can be found at: PDE Keystone Website
Please feel free to contact the Guidance Department at (724) 266 – 2833, ext. 2377 with questions.
Ambridge Area High School Guidance Department