Pennsylvania State Board of Education Considers Changes to Graduation Requirements

May 10, 2012, 16:24 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Education

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The State Board of Education today unanimously voted to consider amending several regulations regarding high school graduation requirements.

The most significant of these proposed changes would be the successful completion of the Keystone Exams as a requirement for high school graduation. The Keystone Exams are rigorous, end-of-course assessments.

"We must increase the rigor of our standards and assessments to ensure students are prepared for postsecondary success, whether that is in college or entering the workforce," Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis said.

"With support from Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R-Dauphin), who serves on the Board of Education and has spearheaded this initiative in the Senate, we are taking steps to ensure Pennsylvania students graduate high school with the knowledge necessary to be successful."

The proposed changes in the Keystone Exam requirements will expect students graduating in 2017 to show proficiency in algebra I, biology and literature. Two years later, graduates would also be required to show proficiency in composition. In 2020, graduates would be required to also show proficiency in civics and government exams.

Additionally, this proposal provides for the development of five additional Keystone Exams for voluntary use in the subjects of geometry, chemistry, algebra II, U.S. and world history.

"This is the first step in ensuring that a high school diploma will be meaningful and consistent throughout the state," said State Board of Education Chairman Larry Wittig.

During today's meeting, the board also:

  • Considered requiring the full implementation of the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics by July 2013. The standards provide schools and educators with guidelines as to what students should be taught and know based on their grade level.
  • Considered a change to the security policies for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. The amendment would remove the current right of parents/guardians to review the exams prior to administration, except to determine whether the assessment conflicts with their religious beliefs.
  • Considered the elimination of the mandate that school districts develop and submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Education a strategic plan.

Final steps to adopt the amendments could come in the next few months.

Media contact:  Tim Eller, 717-783-9802

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education