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Testing requirements concern school district

April 10, 2012

Photo by Gian DeLoia The Ridgway Area School District board of directors review the agenda during Tuesday night's meeting.

State requirements for the Keystone Exams continue to 'bewilder' Ridgway Area School District Superintendent Dr. Michael O'Brien.
O'Brien explained his confusion for the shifting requirements during Tuesday night's board of directors meeting.
The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania's new system of high school graduation requirements. The exams are designed to assist school districts in guiding students toward meeting state standards.
"There is currently a perception that they can't decide on the amount of Keystone Exams," O'Brien said. "We initially started with 10 Keystone Exams with the children having to pass seven out of the 10. Then they went to five with the kids having to pass three of the five and then they went to the three with the children having to pass all three with a project, then they took away the project as an option until their senior year.
"Now there is a Senate bill to go all the way back to 10 and part of that bill would write into law that they could not change the exams once it was adopted until 2020. They keep jerking the yo-yo on us and it's really not cost-effective."
O'Brien also said the State Department of Education is transitioning to the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards and leaving the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment [PSSA] behind for some grades.
"Yet PSSA will stay active for some grades while other grades go to the Common Core, so stay tuned for next week's saga on standardized testing."
In other business, High School Principal Heather McMahon-Vargas reported that this year's graduation ceremony will be held outside.
"We are going to, weather permitting, have the ceremony outside," McMahon-Vargas said. "The kids requested it and we are going to try it outside. We are preparing both inside and outside in case the weather is McMahon-Vargas."

Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, April 11, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.

Next meeting
Ridgway Area School District
Board of Directors
Tuesday, May 8
6:30 p.m.
Elementary library

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