Keystone Exams Delayed as Graduation Requirement

On February 3, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 880 into law. This bill delays the requirement for high school students to pass three Keystone Exams (Biology, Algebra, and English Literature), in order to graduate. The requirement will not go into effect until the graduating Class of 2019; the current 11th grade class.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is a two year delay being placed on the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement?


The Pennsylvania General Assembly listened to concerned educators and parents who felt there were too many issues with the requirement of passing three exams (Algebra, Biology, and English Literature) as a graduation requirement. The requirement was scheduled to go into effect for the Class of 2017, but it has been delayed until the Class of 2019 to give the Pennsylvania Department of Education time to develop a better way to fairly assess students for graduation.

Will Avon Grove Charter School require current 10th and 11th grader students to re-take the Keystone Exams?

Yes, students scoring “non-proficient” have still demonstrated a possible deficiency in content knowledge.  AGCS will still require students to re-take the Keystone Exams in an effort to demonstrate proficiency.  Students currently in 10th and 11th grade will be provided online, asynchronous, remediation opportunities to prepare to retest.  If the parents of a student who did not pass a Keystone Exam do not want their son/daughter to re-take an exam, AGCS will provide an “opt-out” option (separate from a religious exemption) for 10th and 11th graders scheduled to retest. You can access the "opt out" form here.

Is supplemental instruction required for students in the Classes of 2019 who did not pass the exams?

Yes. AGCS will continue to provide asynchronous, online, supplemental remediation for students who did not pass a Keystone exams.

Are current 11th grade students required to take the Keystone Exams if they have not completed them before and are enrolled in a Keystone Exam content class?

Yes. Students enrolled in courses that are designated as Keystone Exam courses and would be taking the exam for the first time are still required to complete the associated exam.  Students are mandated to participate in the exam but do not have to pass in order to graduate. 

Will Keystone Exam scores still be recorded on student transcripts?

Yes, the results of the Keystone Exams are still required to be placed on transcripts according to law (Chapter 4 guidelines).

Will the Keystone Moratorium be extended to the Class of 2019 and beyond?

No. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is expected to issue recommendations on alternative routes for students to demonstrate proficiency as a graduation requirement. These recommendations are scheduled to be shared with state legislators in six months’ time.