POTTSTOWN PA – Pennsylvania’s required Keystone Exams apparently will test not only the ability of Pottsgrove School District 11th graders to demonstrate they have mastered basic algebra, literature and biology, but also the scheduling expertise of high school officials and the patience of students’ parents.
The Keystones, new this year, are being required by the state Legislature as a double-check of scholarly proficiency before high school diplomas are awarded. Problem is, Acting Superintendent Shellie Feola repeated Tuesday (Oct. 23, 2012) to the Board of School Directors, the material on which students will be tested was learned as many as four years ago and now may have been substantially forgotten.
Feola said that’s forced the district – like most others statewide – to scramble and ensure students receive brush-up lessons so they can pass the exams, as well as to find time to schedule the tests before the calendar year ends. It will mean potential delays on several school days, possibly some student cram sessions at home, and a harried teaching staff.
If misery loves company, Pottsgrove has plenty of it. “All the other school districts are in the same boat,” Feola acknowledged.
The tests are supposed to be given immediately after students complete coursework in a given subject. In this first exam year, however, legislators demanded districts play catch-up on fundamental courses that provide the foundation for others later in high school. So Algebra 1, which most Pottsgrove students learned during seventh grade, tops the test list.
Ultimately, the Keystones are intended to replace the much-discussed, much-agonized-over Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams held annually during the spring months.
Some parents know what’s ahead for their children; the majority may not. High School Principal Yolanda Williams is sending a letter this week to all 11th grade families to report on the tests, and an informational session also has been scheduled for next Tuesday (Oct. 30) at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the high school, Kauffman Road.
The tests are scheduled to be held Dec. 3-14, also at the high school. Grade 11 students will face their challenges in Algebra 1, literature and biology, and Grade 9 students in Algebra 1 only. Exams return May 13-24 for 11th graders who must be re-tested for any non-proficient scores, and for 9th and 10th graders ending their courses.
Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Oct. 23 meeting):
- Board OKs Air Repairs As Start Of Fixes At High School
- Oct. 30 Parents’ Meeting Planned On HS Keystone Exams