Keystones, friend or foe?
Keystones, every student's nightmare. When children think of Keystones, it's a very intimidating thought. In order to graduate from Keystone Oaks High School, and any school district in Pennsylvania, students must pass the Keystone Exams.
Students like to voice their opinions on many things, Keystones being one of them. One student, Sophie Vavrock, a 9th grader at Keystone Oaks High School, voiced her opinion very well.
“In my opinion the Keystones are a very scary thought that every student dreads. The Keystones seem very outrageous and students would be alright without them. Students in the past were not required to pass the Keystones in order to graduate and they turned out fine.”
Teachers are to teach all things that are covered in the exams, but how well do they do?
“The teachers do an okay job covering all the material on the exam; however they seem to wait till the last minute, and the students are stuck cramming the night before.”
Rose Hartnett, also a 9th grader at Keystone Oaks, has a different opinion on the exams.
“I thought the tests were easier, and they were shorter than expected,” said Hartnett. “My teacher gave us problems to do in class that were, in my opinion, harder than the questions on the actual exam.”
The teachers are another big aspect in taking the Keystone exams. Mrs. Jennifer Bogdanski, an English teacher at Keystone Oaks High School, teaches the Keystone prep class.
Does she think state testing measure students’ abilities?
“I think it measures students’ abilities but not all student abilities. It lacks a sense of well-roundedness,” Bogdanski stated.
The Keystones are a state-mandated policy and if a child does not pass them, then they are required to complete a project-based assessment. Also, another option a child has is they are to take a remediation course, which is an online course only.
If parents want to help their child prepare for the Keystones, Bogdanski feels that they need encouragement to do well. Encourage them to do well on all of their school work and not just the Keystones.
Some parents don't want to have their children take the Keystones, but the only way a parent can refuse that their child take the exam is if they have appropriate documentation to show why the student is unable to take them, and it's a long and tiresome process. Children who take an online class, or who are homeschooled are required to come in and take the exam along with the other students. Along with children who take out-of-school courses, disabled students are required to take the exam. Those students are given an adapted version of the test.
Mrs. Alyson Culp, a biology teacher at Keystone Oaks High school, teaches the biology prep class for the Keystone Exams.
“I think it is a motivation tactic for students not to blow off the tests, and actually study for them. I don't think it is the best way to measure student abilities especially for biology,” said Culp.
Keystone Oaks will be having their students test on the Keystones in May of 2017.