The Keystone is back

Students+will+have+the+option+of+making+up+their+Keystone+exams+come+December.

Aaron Laird

Students will have the option of making up their Keystone exams come December.

Aarron Laird, Page editor

Bellwood-Antis students  found out this week that they could be taking Keystone Exams in December.

Typically Keystones are delivered in the spring, but due to the COVID-19 shutdown those plans changed last May.

However, while the Keystones are normally a test required for graduation, the December tests are optional.

“This is mainly for the people who would have normally taken the Keystones last year but couldn’t  because school was closed,” said Bellwood-Antis High School Principal Mr. Richard Schreier. “So while there is an exception from the keystone exam. What it didn’t do was excuse everyone from the new graduation requirements under Act 158, which starts with the class of 2022.”

While the make-up keystones are technically optional they still provide the easiest route to meeting the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s graduation requirements.

There are five pathways to graduation and students who don’t take the Keystones automatically remove two of the five pathways. Pathway one is to be proficient or advanced in all three Keystones – Math, English, and Science. Pathway two is a composite score, which basically means a total number of points for all three Keystones and at least one proficient score and no below basic scores.

Mr. Schreier ran a test of this year’s senior class with all three test scores and 78% of them would have graduated with pathway one or two.

What it didn’t do was excuse everyone from the new graduation requirements under Act 158, which starts with the class of 2022.”

— Mr. Schreier

Pathway three includes passing all of the trigger courses, which includes biology, literature, and Algebra 1, and receiving some other certification through a career and technology program. The problem with that is the school does not receive the scores until one month before graduation and if students are depending on it and the grade comes back lower than needed, that could be a concern for the students future. Pathway four includes passing all the trigger courses but receiving another score on another test, whether it be SAT, PSAT, An AP Exam or ASVAP.

Pathway five incudes many avenues. Students still have to pass all the trigger courses along with completing three of a long list of items, including  working a job and getting accepted to a trade school, technical school, or four year college. Passing other tests and certifications.

“This opportunity will allow students to meet the graduation requirements of pathway one  (scoring proficient or advanced in all three Keystone Exams) or pathway two (scoring proficient in one at least one Keystone and earning a set composite score),” a Remind message sent out earlier this week said.

“I know that the likelihood of passing an exam more than 6 months after the last formal instruction in the area is lower, but we must still offer the opportunity,” Mr. Schreier said. “In addition to continued work in literature this year, current eleventh grade students have access to programs called Study Island and Edmentum. These products were used during the school year last year in preparation for the Keystone Exam. Typically, students who need remediation prior to retesting in the Winter Keystone window have access to these programs. I encourage students to complete practice tests, and review the tutorials associated with the tested content area: Algebra I, Biology, and/or Literature.”