The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) applauds the state Senate for the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 1095, legislation introduced by Senator Thomas McGarrigle (R-Chester/Delaware) that expands opportunities for students by providing multiple pathways to demonstrate readiness for high school graduation in addition to Keystone Exams. The association urges the House of Representatives to take swift action on the bill.
Senate Bill 1095 is the culmination of extensive discussion and collaboration with leaders in the Senate and the education community, including PSBA, and recommendations from the Department of Education. Under this proposal, measures of success include meeting local grade-based requirements and demonstrating competency through completion of one of four options that use a variety of tests and other strategies to measure academic success.
PSBA extends its thanks to the Senate, including Senators McGarrigle, John Eichelberger (R-Blair), Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) and Robert Tomlinson (R-Bucks), for supporting this opportunity to revise Pennsylvania’s one-size-fits-all mandate to pass three Keystone Exams to receive a diploma.
“Senate Bill 1095 addresses concerns with current graduation requirements by establishing multiple – and rigorous – graduation options. This legislation allows schools and teachers to obtain a more complete picture of a student’s knowledge, skills and talents in various academic areas as a basis for awarding a diploma,” said PSBA Chief Executive Officer Nathan G. Mains.
Mains emphasized that school districts agree that the assessment strategies used by public schools must be valid and meaningful. He noted that attaining success on various assessments and performance-based programs along with coursework grades provides a more appropriate overall measure of readiness for graduation.
“Providing options for students does not diminish the importance or ability of students to demonstrate proficiency in important academic content areas. Senate Bill 1095 provides rigorous strategies without eroding the intent to ensure accountability in our education system. Reducing the reliance on Keystone Exams simply means that there will not be high-stakes, state-mandated standardized tests that can be used to deny diplomas to students who can demonstrate their competency in a more relevant manner,” Mains added.
PSBA is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth. Founded in 1895, PSBA was the first school boards association established in the United States.
CONTACT: John Callahan, Chief Advocacy Officer, 717-506-2450, ext. 3337