Keystone Testing Information and Resources
What are Keystone Exams?
The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in three subjects: Algebra I, Literature and Biology. Federal and state law require all students to take each exam at least once, unless the student has significant disabilities that would qualify them to take an alternate test called the PASA. The Keystone Exams are also one component of Pennsylvania’s system of high school graduation requirements.
Keystone exam results factor into our school’s Future Ready Index rating, which is issued annually by the PA Department of Education. They also factor into the evaluation ratings of teachers, administrators, and other professional staff members.
When do students take Keystone Exams?
Students take each exam at the conclusion of the course in which the eligible content for the test is taught. Students in East Penn take the exams as follows:
- The Algebra exam is administered in the spring of the year that students are enrolled in Algebra 1 (Note: Some of our students take this exam during middle school)
- The Literature exam is administered in the spring of the tenth grade year
- The Biology exam is administered in the spring of the year that students are enrolled in Biology CP or Honors
How are Keystone Exams scored? When can I expect to receive my scores?
Keystone Exams are scored by the state. Student score reports are then shipped to the school. We typically receive them three to four months after they are taken, and mail them to students’ home addresses at that time.
Students earn an overall score of “Below Basic,” “Basic,” “Proficient,” or “Advanced” on each exam.
Do colleges or employers see my Keystone results?
The highest proficiency level earned on each exam is printed on students’ transcripts.
What happens if I do not score proficient or advanced on all of my Keystone exams?
The East Penn School District does not require students to participate in retesting. However, some students may wish to retest if they did not score “Proficient” or “Advanced” on one or more of the Keystone exams. Our research shows that students scoring a 1490 or above on the first try often score proficient on a retest. We strongly encourage students scoring in that range to opt into a retest.
Students in the Class of 2020 and 2021 who did not score “Proficient” or “Advanced” on all of the Keystone exams are covered by a statewide moratorium, and it is not necessary for them to take any further action to demonstrate proficiency in order to graduate.
Students in the Class of 2023 and beyond who do not score “Proficient” or “Advanced” on all three Keystone exams must take further action to demonstrate proficiency and meet the statewide graduation requirement. Those who do not demonstrate proficiency through retesting will meet the graduation requirement by completing their Career Readiness Portfolio, which is already a requirement for all Emmaus High School students.
Who can I talk to if I need assistance?
If you have any questions about the Keystone exams, they can be directed to your school counselor or to Ms. Tabitha Rodriguez, School Assessment Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 610-965-1650.
Below you will find resources to aid with studying for the Keystone Exams.
- Algebra 1 Keystone Exam (PDESAS) (click on Mathematics)
- Literature Keystone Exam (PDESAS) (click on English Language Arts)