Fleetwood Area School District Report by Dr. Paul Eaken: New high school exams implemented

The Pennsylvania State Board of Education is implementing a new set of tests that are designed to measure a student’s mastery of skills learned in specific courses. These tests, referred to as the Keystone Exams, are now being used (effective for the 2012-13 school year) to determine whether high schools are meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in student achievement as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

In December, high school students who already completed Algebra 1, Literature, and/or Biology were required to take the Keystone Exam for these course(s). The test results in Algebra and Literature will be used to determine if the high school is meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). The biology test is being used to fulfill the NCLB requirement for a science assessment although this test will not be used to determine AYP. These exams replace the PSSA exams that were previously administered in 11th grade.

In May, students completing courses in Algebra 1, Literature, and Biology will take a Keystone Exam for each course. Scores on these tests will be banked until a student’s 11th grade year, at which time their highest score on each exam will be used to determine if the school is meeting the AYP requirement. Students who do not score proficient may retake the exam(s).

The state plans to expand the Keystone Exams (subject to available state funding) to include:

• Composition – required for students graduating in 2019;

• Civics and Government – required for students graduating in 2020.

The Board of Education also eliminated the graduation project which, for Fleetwood High students, was completed in their job search class.

Five other optional Keystone Exams are also planned, if state funding is available:

• Geometry (2016-17);

• United States history (2017-18);

• Algebra II (2018-19);

• Chemistry (2019-20);

• World History (2020-21).

Students currently in 8th grade (students graduating in 2017) will be required to pass tests in Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature in order to receive a high school diploma. Students will take the exams as soon as they complete the course. They may also take it multiple times. If they are unable to pass a particular test twice, students may complete a project that demonstrates mastery of the standards measured by the Keystone Exam.

Consistent with the existing rules for the PSSA, parents/guardians have the right to examine any state assessment two weeks prior to when it will be given to students to determine if the test conflicts with their religious beliefs. If parents believe that there is a conflict, they need to submit a written request for their child(ren) to be excused from the state assessment that includes an explanation of their objection.

Upcoming Events in the Fleetwood Area School District:

April 5-6 – High School Musical, South Pacific, presented at 7 p.m. each evening

April 8-19 – PSSA math and reading assessment in grades 3-8

April 22-26 – PSSA science assessment in grades 4 and 8

April 24 – Early Dismissal for teacher in-service (Richmond Elementary will have a full day of school to make up for a school closure this winter)

The Board of School Directors will meet on April 9 and 16, both at 7 p.m. in the board room at the high school.

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