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College & Workforce Readiness

A Higher Graduation Standard, Delayed

By Catherine Gewertz — November 17, 2017 1 min read

The Pennsylvania legislature has now delayed for the second time a requirement that students pass exit exams in order to graduate from high school.

The move was part of a package of changes to the state school code. It was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this month.

The original plan was that students would have to pass the Keystone Exams in algebra, biology, and literature in 2016-17. But in 2016, that requirement was delayed for two years. Now it’s been put off for another year, until 2019-20.

Students must still take the exams; they’re just not required for a diploma.

Backers of the exam requirement had argued that it would hold districts all over the state accountable for making sure that students finished high school with specified levels of academic skill.

The plan drew opposition, however, from policymakers who thought each district should be able to set its own requirements, according to WHYY.org. They were also concerned about the prospect of a sharp drop in graduation rates once the exam requirement went into effect.

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania passed a law that allows career and technical education students to graduate without taking the exit exams.

Want to know which states require students to take exit exams to graduate from high school? See EdWeek’s national testing database.


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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.