New Pa. graduation requirement has five pathways to diploma, career readiness

The standards apply to the state’s high school seniors

By: - December 19, 2022 3:58 pm

(Photo via the Philadelphia Tribune)

By Chanel Hill

Pennsylvania high school seniors must complete one of five new pathways outlined in Act 158 to earn a diploma and demonstrate career and/or college readiness.

Keystone Proficiency: Students must be proficient with a score of 1,500 or higher in biology, algebra and literature. All exams are scored out of 1,800 points.

Keystone Composite: The Keystone composite pathway is the sum of the scale scores for the three exams. If a student who takes the three keystone exams doesn’t score high enough, they can still graduate if one score is proficient or higher or if all three scores total 4,452.

Career and Technical Education Concentrator: Students who opt for the CTE pathway are eligible to graduate if they attain an industry-based certification. Students who have yet to earn their certification can still graduate as long as they prove they are on track, which will be based on benchmark assessments, grades, and other factors.

Alternative Assessment: With the alternative assessment, students must receive a high score on either the ACT, SAT, Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate, or the Armed Forces Qualifying Test.

Students can use Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate (IB) test scores and college courses in substitute for individual Keystone exams. They can also graduate if they complete a pre-apprenticeship program and if they’ve been accepted to a four-year college or university.

Evidence-based: Students must provide three pieces of evidence from their career portfolio that is aligned to their goals and career plan.

Among the different evidence that students can provide include SAT subject tests, AP, IB, and concurrent coursework, high education acceptance, community learning projects, industry-recognized credentials, completion of internship, externship, co-op, or guarantee of full-time employment.

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune where this story first appeared.

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