Senate bill removes heavy focus on standardized testing as graduation requirement

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Senate bill removes heavy focus on standardized testing as graduation requirement

New legislation from state Sen. Thomas J. McGarrigle would provide Pennsylvania students with additional options to fulfill high school graduation requirements beyond the high-stakes Keystone Exams.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 1095, which allows students who do not score proficient on the Keystone Exams to demonstrate their readiness to graduate through alternative routes.

“Sen. McGarrigle’s bill recognizes that standardized tests aren’t the only way to measure students’ abilities and provides options to measure students’ readiness for post-secondary education,” said PSEA President Dolores McCracken.

Commonsense options for assessing student performance

The Keystone Exam graduation requirement is on hold until the 2019-20 school year. The alternate graduation options in Senate Bill 1095 would take effect when that delay expires.

The plan gives school districts commonsense options for assessing student performance that don’t rely as heavily on standardized tests.

PSEA members make the difference

Over the past year, Pennsylvania has made a lot of progress on standardized testing, thanks in large part to the advocacy of PSEA members:

  • Gov. Tom Wolf has reduced time spent on standardized testing by an average of 20 percent in grades three through eight.
  • The Legislature has already approved a new law to allow career and technical education students to demonstrate their competency to graduate through their grades, alternative assessments, and industry-based certifications.
  • Just this week, the state House of Representatives passed a bill to make it easier for parents to opt their students out of the Keystone Exams.

Senate Bill 1095 continues the trend.

Sen. McGarrigle a leader on this issue

Sen. McGarrigle, like Gov. Wolf, has been a leader on this issue.

“Sen. McGarrigle recognizes that all students deserve alternatives to standardized tests as a means of demonstrating their academic achievement,” McCracken said. “We commend him for his leadership, and we look forward to a debate on this bill by the full Senate.”

You can send a message of support to your state senator at www.psea.org/graduationoptions.