The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to delay the start date when Pennsylvania high schoolers will be required to pass standardized exams in literature, algebra and biology in order to graduate.
A state law enacted in 2009 mandated that beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, high school students would need to pass the Keystone Exams. The house bill just approved would push back the requirement to start with the 2018-2019 school year.
Over the summer, the state senate passed a similar bill of its own. The house bill includes a provision calling on the state Department of Education to recommend an alternative to the Keystone graduation requirement within six months. If the senate agrees to that provision, the bill would go before Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature and, if he signs it, would become law.
Since the state law creating the Keystone exams was enacted, a national outcry against standardized testing has developed among many parents and educators. The uproar grew so pitched that in October President Barack Obama called for a limit to how much time should be spent on standardized testing.
According to the Pennsylvania state Education Association, students who fail the exams can still graduate by completing a “project-based assessment.” If the project is not satisfactory, students may still graduate by meeting local graduation requirements and receiving approval from their school district’s superintendent.