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Keystone Exams*

The Keystone Exams are assessments in Algebra I, Biology, and Literature.  These exams will be used for students to demonstrate proficiency in the areas of Mathematics, Science, and Literacy as a requirement to graduate from Donegal High School. Students are required to participate in these exams at the end of the course of study in Algebra I, Biology, and All 10th graders when enrolled in a Literature 9/10 class.  Exams are administered in January 2024, and May 2024.


*Testing dates and administration are subject to change




ACT 158 of 2018, provides alternatives to Pennsylvania’s statewide requirement of attaining

Proficiency on the three end of course keystone exams for a student to achieve statewide graduation requirements.  Students have the option to demonstrate postsecondary preparedness through one of three additional pathways that more fully illustrate college, career, and community readiness.  Keystone Exams will continue as the statewide assessment Pennsylvania uses to comply with accountability requirements set forth in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Although students will no longer be required to achieve proficiency on the Keystone Exams to meet the statewide graduation requirement, students must take the Keystone Exams for purposes of federal accountability. 


In accordance with Act 158 of 2018, the PA Department of Education now requires the successful completion of one of the three following pathways in order for them to graduate high school. Please, carefully read the pathways listed below, as they relate to your child and the manner in which they can successfully meet graduation requirements.

        Pathway #1 Keystone Proficiency:  

o    If your student scores proficient or advanced on all three Keystone Exams (Algebra I, Biology & Literature), he/she will have met the requirements for graduation.  


        Pathway #2 Keystone Composite Pathway: 

o    If your student earns a composite (combined) score of 4452 on the Algebra I, Literature, and Biology Keystone Exams, while earning a proficient score on at least 1 out of the 3 exams and no less than a basic score on the other 2 exams, he/she will have met the requirements for graduation.


        Pathway #3:

If your student does not meet Pathway #1 or #2, he/she will be required to successfully achieve a combination of number 1, listed below, plus one option from 2 below:


1.      Pass any class for which he/she does not score a minimum of proficient, as determined by the state scoring system for the following Keystone Exams: Algebra I, Biology, and/or grade 10 English. 


A student scores basic on the Algebra I exam, but passes the Algebra I class, they have met a portion of the requirement for graduation.  


AND achieve ONE the following options in the table:

Career & Technical Education

 (1 piece of evidence)

Alternative Assessment 

(1 piece of evidence)

Evidence Based

(3 pieces of evidence)

Examples of evidence include:

  • Industry-based competency certification
  • Readiness for continued engagement in Career & Technical Education (CTE) concentrator program of study

Examples of evidence include:

  • Scoring a 21 or better on the ACT
  • Scoring a 31 or better on the ASVAB AFQT
  • Scoring a 970 or better on the PSAT or 1010 or better on the SAT
  • Acceptance into 4yr instruction of higher education for college-level work

Examples of evidence include: 

  • Letter guaranteeing full-time employment or military enlistment
  • Completion of an internship
  • Compliance with NCAA Division II academic requirements 


The first two pathways can only be successfully obtained if a student participates in all three keystone exams when they are enrolled in the course and they obtain the scores outlined in pathways #1 and #2.  

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