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Keystone week catches up with HAHS

Keystone week catches up with HAHS

As the end of the 2024 school year quickly sneaks up on everyone, some students from Hamburg Area High School are beginning to dread the upcoming Keystone week. May 13 is the first day of Keystones for Hamburg students. The Keystone exams are extremely vital and required for the graduating process in Pennsylvania. Each subject of the Keystone exam lasts two days. However, students are only tested on three subjects, literature, biology, and algebra. The Literature Keystones are up first, next are the Algebra Keystones, and finally the Biology Keystones which are taken the week of May 20. Testing begins at school at around 7:30 am as if it were a normal day, then concludes at around 9:30 am. For students who are not taking the Keystones, they are able to come into school as if it were a two hour delay schedule unless they do not have transportation, then they come to school at regular time and sit in the auditorium as if it were a study hall. Rooms are assigned to each of the students way before Keystone week so that students can be prepared and aware of where they must go on testing days. If the test takers are not able to complete the exam within the given time, they are allowed extensions, for those that are sick or cannot attend school on a day of the testing, there are Keystone make-up days scheduled. 

     Overall, Keystone testing can be tiring and stressful, but it is extremely beneficial and important for students to do well. However, it is not the only way that students can graduate. If a student does not pass the Keystones there are many alternatives to obtain the requirements for graduating.

     So what exactly are the Keystones besides an end of the school year exam, and why is it a requirement? In 2015, former President Obama signed the ESSA or the Every Student Succeeds Act. Because this act was signed, from that year on high school students were and still are required to take the Keystone exams in order to meet the federal accountability criteria of ESSA. These exams were purposefully created to replace the previous PSSA for 11 grade. Ultimately the Keystones make it easier for high school students to graduate with minimum stress. 


For more information about the Keystone exams visit https://www.education.pa.gov/K-12/Assessment%20and%20Accountability/Keystones/Pages/default.aspx


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