By Emily Frazier
GS took on the Keystone exams with a more modernized approach, for the district opted to do them online.
The Keystones are a state-required assessment that determines students’ proficiency in literature, algebra, and science.
“Teachers use the data to find growth from year to year,” guidance counselor Mrs. Laura Klipa said. “There’s a whole lot of information that comes out of that. It shows you exactly what skill sets students are proficient in or need remediated in.”
Students take the exams for federal accountability which helps low-performing schools improve their academic performance. Through the results of the exams, schools can see what they need to do to guide students towards meeting the state standards.
“[It’s] like a basic measure of competency,” Mrs. Klipa said.
Students who don’t achieve a proficient score are expected to remediate and retest. The catch is that students scoring 4452 between the three with no scores below basic move on as well, so a consistent effort can show results.
“The Act 158 is a state requirement, and the first way to meet that graduation requirement is to pass the Keystones,” Klipa said. “In some students, it is difficult for them depending on levels of ability. So, then they give you other ways to do it.”
For those who struggle to pass or opted out of taking the test, there are other ways to prove you’re ready, such as acceptance into a four-year college, excelling at CWCTC or meeting the NCAA requirements.
Some students were more comfortable and had no worries going into the tests, for they felt well ready from their classes.
“I felt pretty prepared, and it was pretty easy and all,” sophomore Elanor Swanson said. “It was mostly the reading that was hard.”
Unlike in the past, the Keystones were taken online. Students used their school-issued laptops. Many precautions were taken so that no problems would occur during testing.
“It’s the trend to push towards paperless,” Klipa said. “There’s lots of tools on there.”
Whether this method of testing is successful or not is up to the students’ preferences.
“I did not like it all,” Swanson said. “It was more difficult to stay focused for me because it was like you’re just looking at the screen for hours. I find it easier to do it on paper, and you can write stuff out easier and jot things down.”
Some prefer to have a physical booklet to flip through while others enjoy the option to have passages read to them through that tool.
“We figured [we’d] kind of get our feet wet there and see how it goes,” Mrs. Klipa said, “I’m interested to hear what the student feedback is on it.”