More graduation options proposed

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More graduation options proposed

PSEA is supporting a bill that would give high school students additional options to fulfill graduation requirements.

Senate Bill 1095, introduced by state Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-Chester/ Delaware, would allow students who do not score proficient on the Keystone exams to demonstrate their readiness to graduate through alternative routes.

“Standardized tests aren’t the only way to measure students’ abilities, and they’re certainly not the best way to do it,’’ said PSEA President Dolores McCracken. “Sen. McGarrigle’s bill recognizes there are several valid and rigorous options to measure students’ postsecondary readiness.’’

Under the proposed legislation, students not scoring proficient on the Keystones could fulfill graduation requirements by:

  • Meeting or exceeding a composite score across Keystone exams in algebra I, biology, and literature, and demonstrating at least “basic” performance on each of the three exams.
  • Meeting or exceeding local grade requirements in subjects tested by the Keystone exams and completing a subject-specific advanced placement, international baccalaureate, or armed services vocational aptitude test, gaining acceptance in a registered apprenticeship program, or attaining a career readiness certificate.
  • Meeting or exceeding local grade requirements in subjects tested by the Keystone exams and presenting at least three pieces of evidence from the student’s career portfolio, which is required for federal accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The bill would take effect when the delay in using the Keystone exams as a graduation requirement expires during the 2019-20 school year.

It comes on the heels of legislation passed by the General Assembly last year, and also supported by PSEA, to allow career and technical education students to demonstrate their competency to graduate through their grades, alternative assessments, and industry-based certifications.

PSEA also supported the legislation for career and technical education students, and McCracken said additional steps are needed.

“I applaud Sen. McGarrigle for recognizing more work needs to be done, and more options need to be available to all students,’’ McCracken said.