Act 158 of 2018 establishes new requirements for high school graduation, effective in the 2021-22 school year, by allowing alternative pathways for high school graduation and making other changes. The law creates four options that students who are not proficient on the three Keystone Exams in Algebra I, literature and biology may use to meet requirements to graduate.
Passage of the act was a key victory for PSBA in the 2017-18 legislative session as the association worked with legislators and stakeholders to introduce and advance the proposal, known then as Senate Bill 1095.
The measures-of-success under four options provided in Act 158 are relevant to students’ individual career goals and reflect the coursework, grades, activities and achievements earned. In addition to Keystone Exams, alternative tests and other factors can be counted toward graduation. The new performance-based system allows schools and teachers to obtain a more complete picture of a student’s knowledge, skills and talents as a basis for awarding a diploma, instead of being based solely on standardized test scores. Act 158 contains provisions for oversight and accountability for schools and students.
The reforms under Act 158 give students broader opportunities to demonstrate their readiness for success after high school. These options ensure that students are challenged to meet rigorous requirements for graduation while allowing them to focus on the courses and activities that support their postsecondary goals.