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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 51 Pa.B. 6892 (October 30, 2021).

22 Pa. Code § 4.51b. Keystone Exams.

§ 4.51b. Keystone Exams.

 (a)  The Department will develop or cause to be developed Keystone Exams as provided in this subsection. (This subsection is intended by the Board to be a continuation of §  4.51(f) (relating to State assessment system) as published at 40 Pa.B. 240 (January 9, 2010) and referenced in section 102 of the School Code (24 P. S. §  1-102).)

   (1)  Three assessments aligned with the Mathematics standards, contained in Appendix A-2, that assess the academic content traditionally included in Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry courses.

   (2)  Two assessments aligned with select English Language Arts standards, contained in Appendix A-2 that assess academic content traditionally included in high school literature and composition courses.

   (3)  Three assessments aligned with select History and Civics and Government standards, contained in Appendix C, that assess content traditionally included in high school level American History, World History and Civics and Government courses.

   (4)  Two assessments aligned with select standards for Science and Technology and Environment and Ecology, contained in Appendix B, that assess academic content traditionally included in high school level Biology and Chemistry courses.

 (b)  Keystone Exams shall be offered at least three times each year: once each in the fall, spring and summer.

 (c)  Keystone Exams shall be administered, reviewed and scored so that scores for candidates for graduation are provided to schools no later than 10 calendar days prior to graduation. A school district, AVTS or charter school, including a cyber charter school, may request the Department to approve alternative test administration and scoring time frames. The Department will publish guidelines and procedures for approving alternative test administration and scoring time frames on its web site. The guidelines will provide for approval of all requests unless the approval is contrary to standards of test validity and scoring.

 (d)  A student shall be permitted to retake any Keystone Exam, or Keystone Exam module, in which the student did not score proficient or above at the next available testing date, so long as the student has participated in a satisfactory manner in supplemental instruction as provided under §  4.24(k) (relating to high school graduation requirements) and subsection (f). There is not a limit on the number of times a student who did not score proficient on a Keystone Exam is permitted to retake the Keystone Exam or Keystone Exam module. A student who has achieved a score of proficient or advanced on a Keystone Exam is not permitted to retake the exam.

 (e)  Each Keystone Exam will be designed in modules that reflect distinct, related academic content that is common to the traditional progression of coursework to allow students who do not score proficient or above to retake those portions of the test in which they did not score proficient or above.

 (f)  A student taking Keystone Exams, or Keystone Exam modules, who did not score proficient on a Keystone Exam, or Keystone Exam module, shall be provided supplemental instruction consistent with the student’s educational program by the student’s school district, AVTS or charter school, including a cyber charter school, until the student can demonstrate proficiency in the subject area or the student begins a project-based assessment provided in §  4.51c (relating to project-based assessment).

 (g)  Performance levels for Keystone Exams shall be set at the advanced, proficient, basic and below basic levels. In consultation with the Performance Level Advisory Committee, the Department will develop and recommend to the Board for its approval performance level descriptors and performance level cut scores for the Keystone Exams and any alternative assessments developed to assess students with disabilities as permitted by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Pub. L. No. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425). The Department will use widely-accepted psychometric procedures to establish the cut scores. Cut scores shall be presented at a public meeting of the Board for its review at least 2 weeks prior to scheduled Board action on the cut scores.

 (h)  The Department will provide guidance to school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools, as to the appropriate accommodations school entities shall provide to students with disabilities, students who are gifted and English language learners, when appropriate.

 (i)  Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, Keystone Exams in the following subjects will be developed by the Department and made available for use by school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools, for the purpose of assessing high school graduation requirements in §  4.24(c)(1)(iii):

   Algebra I
Literature
Biology

 (j)  Subject to funding appropriated by the General Assembly for development of the exams and related project-based assessments and validation of related local assessments, Keystone Exams in the following subjects will be developed by the Department and made available for use by school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools, for the purpose of assessing high school graduation requirements in §  4.24(c)(1)(iii) in accordance with the following schedule:

   School Year 2015-2016 English Composition
School Year 2016-2017 Civics and Government

   (1)  During the 2014-2015 school year, school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools, shall administer the Keystone Exam in English Composition for the purpose of gathering data to set performance level cut scores for the exam.

   (2)  During the 2015-2016 school year, school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools, shall administer the Keystone Exam in Civics and Government for the purpose of gathering data to set performance level cut scores for the exam.

 (k)  Subject to funding appropriated by the General Assembly for development of the exams, Keystone Exams in the following subjects will be developed by the Department and made available for voluntary use by school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools, in accordance with the following schedule:

   School Year 2016-2017 Geometry
School Year 2017-2018 U.S. History
School Year 2018-2019 Algebra II
School Year 2019-2020 Chemistry
School Year 2020-2021 World History

 (l)  The Department will seek to have the Keystone Exams approved as the high school level single accountability system under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Upon approval by the United States Department of Education, the Algebra I and Literature exams will be used to determine adequate yearly progress at the high school level. The Biology Keystone Exam will be used as the high school level science assessment, which is not a factor in determining adequate yearly progress. If the Keystone Exams receive approval as the high school level accountability measure, school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools, shall administer the Literature, Algebra I and Biology exams as end-of-course tests in the grade level in which students complete the relevant coursework.

 (m)  The 11th grade PSSA exams in Reading, Writing, Math and Science shall be discontinued upon implementation of the Keystone Exams as the approved assessment system under section 1111(b)(2)(C) of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C.A. §  6311(b)(2)(C)).

 (n)  At least once every 5 years, the Department will contract with a qualified, independent research organization to perform a validity study of the Keystone Exams using generally accepted education research standards. These studies will determine, at a minimum, the degree to which the Keystone Exams and performance level cut scores are valid for the purposes for which they are used; aligned with State academic standards; aligned with performance levels of other states; internationally benchmarked; and predict college and career success. In addition, all Keystone Exams, performance level descriptors and cut scores will be subject to the best available forms of content, criterion and consequential validation.

 (o)  The Department will establish a State Assessment Validation Advisory Committee (Committee). The Committee will advise the Department on its plans to conduct the validity study and review and provide feedback on its findings.

 (p)  The Department and the Committee will investigate the use of a certificate based on industry approved standards and performance on an NOCTI exam as an alternative pathway to graduation and will make a report and recommendation to the Board by January 10, 2011.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  4.51b issued under sections 121, 2603-B and 2604-B of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P. S. § §  1-121, 26-2603-B and 26-2604-B).

Source

   The provisions of this §  4.51b adopted February 28, 2014, effective March 1, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 1131.

Cross References

   This section cited in 22 Pa. Code §  4.4 (relating to general policies); 22 Pa. Code §  4.24 (relating to high school graduation requirements); 22 Pa. Code §  4.51c (relating to project-based assessment); and 22 Pa. Code §  4.51d (relating to waivers).



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