The State Board of Education today voted to adopt final-form regulations to amend Chapter 4, Academic Standards and Assessment, of Title 22, the Pennsylvania Education Code, said Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis.
Specifically, the board's action puts into place the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards and requires students to demonstrate proficiency on a Keystone Exam, validated local assessment or a comparable Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate exam.
"Chapter 4 contains the nuts and bolts of our education system," said State Board of Education Chairman Larry Wittig. "The action taken by the State Board today has strengthened the process by which school districts provide that education.
As required by the new regulations, the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in English language, arts and mathematics must be implemented in all public schools across the state by July 1, 2013.
Similar to the nationwide Common Core State Standards initiative, which is under way in 45 states,
Tomalis noted that these rigorous standards will serve as a framework for schools as to what students should be taught and have knowledge of based on their grade level.
The board also adopted the final implementation schedule for the Keystone Exams, which are rigorous, end-of-course assessments designed to ensure a student's mastery of specific academic content. These exams are required to graduate from a
Beginning with the class of 2017 - this year's 8th-grade class - students will be required to pass three Keystone Exams - algebra I, biology and literature - or a comparable assessment to obtain a high school diploma.
The class of 2019 - this year's 6th-grade class - will be required to pass four Keystone Exams - algebra I, biology, literature and composition.
The class of 2020 - this year's 5th-grade class - and beyond will be required to pass five Keystone Exams - algebra I, biology, literature, composition, and civics and government.
The composition and civics and government exams are subject to available state funding for development and implementation of each assessment.
Additionally, subject to available funding, five additional Keystone Exams would be made available to school districts for voluntary use based on the following schedule: geometry in 2016-17,
The board also voted to repeal the required culminating graduation project, and the Keystone Exams, from counting as one-third of a student's course grade.
The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) will no longer be required for 11th-grade students but will continue to be taken by students in grades 3 through 8. Additionally, the PSSA will be aligned to the Pennsylvania Common Core State Academic Standards in the 2014-15 school year.
Now that the board has taken final action to amend the regulations, they will now go to the House and Senate Education committees and Independent Regulatory Review Commission for consideration.