These new Keystone exams will eventually replace the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment or P-S-S-A exams. All eleventh graders will start taking the new Keystone exams next week. The exam program will start with standardized tests specifically in algebra, literature and biology.
While some school administrators have expressed concerns about the new standardized testing program because of students results during practice tests taken last year. Other school officials see advantages to the new schedule of testing under the Keystone program.
One problem with the new testing program is that some students feel they are losing class room instruction time for review work on subjects they took a couple of years ago. Other educators who have studied the results of standardized testing say programs like the Keystone tests can be expensive and unproductive. Still some school officials say the new keystone exams could make things a little easier on some students by helping to reduce test related stress on some of them.
To start, the Keystone exams will no have any effect on the student's academic record. But by the time current eighth graders in the state reach the end of high school, successfully completing a number of Keystone exams will be a requirement for graduation.