A new form of standardized testing is being put in place across Pennsylvania. They're called "Keystone Exams" and Tim Slekar, the Head of Education, Human Development and Social Sciences at Penn State Altoona joined Sarah to discuss the pros and cons of this new test.
Slekar says there are five main areas of concern.
1. National research on "exit exams" continually indicates that they don't increase knowledge in tested subjects.
2. Money spent on the Keystones (the test, test prep, test scoring and test score management) would be better spent on instructional resources. (He argues, the U.S. spends $1.7 billion a year on test manufacturing, and that figure doesn't take test prep, scoring and test score management into account).
3. Over the last 2 years, more than $1 billion has been cut from public schools in PA, also eliminating resources for students in the classroom. Slekar argues that testing students after denying them these resources will skew the results and Pennsylvania students will score lower on the Keystone Exams.
4. Local students are actually being denied classroom time in other subjects. Slekar says he has talked to local parents who have verified this information.
5. Some school leaders are not telling parents and students that Keystone scores won't count towards graduation until 2017. Slekar says this creates stress and anxiety for students.