Pennsylvania high school exams on way

    Pennsylvania statewide high school graduation exams are one step closer to reality, after a State Board of Education vote Thursday.

    Pennsylvania statewide high school graduation exams are one step closer to reality, after a State Board of Education vote Thursday.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090813sdkey.mp3]

    The Board voted 14-2 to approve the Keystone Exams, a series of tests that would account for a third of a student’s final grade in each subject. Three of the tests would first be administered in the 2010-2011 school year, and the remaining seven would be phased in through 2016.

    The Keystone Exams aren’t fully approved yet. Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak explains the proposal still needs to be OK’ed by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, and the House and Senate Education Committees.

    Zahorchak: It stops off at both committees. There’s a time limit. If they don’t weigh in it continues. If they do weigh in there’s the possibility IRC will ask more questions. But then it becomes in the hands of IRC. And they make the decision. After that the final thing that happens is the Attorney General says this is all in the laws of Pennsylvania. There’s nothing unlawful about it.

    The commonwealth is paying a private company $176,000,000 dollars to develop the tests. School districts will have the option of developing their own graduation assessments, and would be able to use those in place of the Keystone Exams, if they receive state approval.

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