Act 158 of 2018 (Act 158) was signed into law by Governor Wolf shifts Pennsylvania's reliance on high stakes testing as a graduation requirement to provide alternatives for high school students to demonstrate readiness for postsecondary success. Act 158, in conjunction with Act 6 of 2017 (Act 6), expands the options for student to demonstrate postsecondary readiness through four additional pathways that more fully illustrate college, career, and community readiness.

 

Who's Impacted?

The statewide graduation requirement outlined in Act 6 and Act 158 takes effect for the graduating Class of 2022 and beyond. 

 

What are the Keystone Exams?

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in the subject areas of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Literature, English Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History, and Civics and Government.

Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, Keystone Exams in the following subjects were developed by the Department and made available for use by school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools:

  • Algebra I
  • Literature
  • Biology

The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania's statewide high school graduation requirements. Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards.

 

What are the five (5) Pathways to graduation?

Keystone Proficiency Pathway

  • Scoring proficient or advanced on each Keystone Exam - Algebra I, Literature, and Biology. 

Keystone Composite Pathway

  • Earning a composite score of 4452 on the Algebra I, Literature, and Biology Keystone Exams (while achieving at least a proficient score on at least one of the three exams and no less than a basic score on the remaining two).

Alternate Assessment Pathway

  • Successful completion of locally established grade-based requirements for academic content areas associated with each Keystone Exam on which the student did not achieve proficiency and one of the following:
    • Attainment of an established score on an approved alternate assessment (SAT, PSAT, ACT, ASVAB);
    • Gold Level on the ACT WorkKeys Assessment;
    • Attainment of an established score on an Advanced Placement Program or an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program exam in an academic content area associated with each Keystone Exam on which the student did not achieve at least a proficient score;
    • Successful completion of a concurrent enrollment course in an academic content area associated with each Keystone Exam in which the student did not achieve at least a proficient score;
    • Successful completion of a pre-apprenticeship program; or
    • Acceptance in an accredited 4-year nonprofit institution of higher education and evidence of the ability to enroll in college-level coursework.

Evidence Based Pathway

  • Successful completion of locally established grade-based requirements for academic content areas associated with each Keystone Exam on which the student did not achieve proficiency and demonstration of three pieces of evidence consistent with the student's goals and career plans, includin

One of the following:

      • Attainment of an established score on the ACT WorkKeys assessment, a SAT subject test, an Advanced Placement Program Exam, or an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Exam;
      • Acceptance to an accredited nonprofit institution of higher education other than a 4-year institution and evidence of the ability to enroll in college-level coursework;
      • Attainment of an industry-recognized credential; or
      • Successful completion of a concurrent enrollment or postsecondary course; and
    • Two additional pieces of evidence, including one or more of the options listed above, or: satisfactory completion of a service learning project; attainment of a score of proficient or advanced on a Keystone Exam; a letter guaranteeing full-time employment; a certificate of successful completion of an internship or cooperative education program; or satisfactory compliance with the NCAA's core courses for college-bound student athletes with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0.  

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Pathway

  • For Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrators, successful completion of locally established grade-based requirements for academic content areas associated with each Keystone Exam on which the student did not achieve proficiency and attainment of an industry-based competency certification related to the CTE Concentrator's program of study or demonstration of a high likelihood of success on an approved industry-based competency assessment or readiness for continued meaningful engagement in the CTE Concentrator's program of study.