PA Keystone Exam Update, Cheers or Jeers?
"The state removed language requiring the transcript to designate whether the level was achieved by taking a Keystone Exam or by a project-based assessment..."
Should we celebrate the removal of the "Scarlet Letter" on the transcripts of students who take Keystone projects (for kids who have difficulty passing the exams)? Nah, the Keystones should have been eliminated as a high stakes, graduation requirement. This is a really tiny "Cheer."
The state threw us a bone on this one. Our kids who take the project will now not look as bad to colleges as the state originally intended.
Just when we were wondering if we can opt our kids out of this, we learn that we may for religious reasons... but our children still have to do the project. I recently learned that the project for Algebra 1 is... DRUM ROLL, PLEASE.... an on-line assessment that takes 8 - 10 hours before or after school. It sure sounds like a longer, on-line version of the paper exam.
"Parental opt-out – The regulation gives parents/guardians the right to review any state assessment to determine whether the assessment conflicts with their religious beliefs. In asserting a religious objection to the assessment, a parent/guardian must explain the objection in their (sic) written request for excusal.
Project required for opt-out students – Students who are not taking Keystone Exams under the parental opt-out provision must take the project-based assessment for each subject area required for graduation. This provision was added in the March draft."
Q: Is there a religious opt out for the Project Based Assessment?
Did the state of Pennsylvania actually just admit that its projects are not a "...valid and reliable measurement of student performance on a set of academic standards..." ? Hmmm....
Here are the most recent Pennsylvania Department of Education Keystone results, from the spring 2013 exams:
38.6 percent of 94,939 tested students passed the Algebra I test.
35.7 percent of 46,998 tested students passed the biology exam.
49.9 percent of 42,815 tested students passed the English literature exam.
They want us to think that our kids have failed because our schools have failed. Yet we know their tests have failed. It is wrong to send the message that our kids aren't successful from one high stakes exam.