PSEA supports Sen. McGarrigle’s options for graduation bill

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PSEA supports Sen. McGarrigle’s options for graduation bill

For further information contact:
David Broderic (717) 255-7169
Wythe Keever (717) 255-7107

HARRISBURG (April 3, 2018) – Pennsylvania State Education Association President Dolores McCracken today issued the following statement in support of legislation introduced by state Sen. Tom McGarrigle (R-26), which will provide all students with additional options to fulfill high school graduation requirements.

“Standardized tests aren’t the only way to measure students’ abilities, and they’re certainly not the best way to do it. Sen. McGarrigle’s bill recognizes that there are several valid and rigorous options to measure students’ postsecondary readiness. This is a solid proposal, PSEA commends Sen. McGarrigle for introducing it, and we’re eager to work with him to get it signed into law.

“For years, students have been robbed of instructional time because they’ve been taking too many standardized tests or because they are forced into test remediation. In Pennsylvania, we’ve made some real strides toward reducing the time our kids spend on these tests, and policymakers are being more thoughtful about how to assess students without relying too much on them.

“Just last year, state lawmakers unanimously passed a law that allows students in career and technical education programs to demonstrate their skills and competencies through their grades, alternative assessments, and industry-based certifications. I applaud Sen. McGarrigle for recognizing that more work needs to be done and more options need to be available to all students. Proposals like his recognize that student achievement cannot be measured by a single, high-stakes test. Each day, students are working toward their individual career goals, and each student’s academic record reflects incredible, unique accomplishments which should not be ignored.”

Senate Bill 1095, which McGarrigle introduced on April 3, would offer students who do not score proficient on Keystone exams alterative pathways to demonstrate their readiness to graduate from high school. The Keystone exam graduation requirement has been delayed until the 2019-20 school year. The alternate graduation options McGarrigle’s legislation proposes would take effect when the Keystone exam delay expires. Students would be required to:

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

McCracken is a paraprofessional in the Council Rock School District. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents approximately 181,000 future, active and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.