More Tests? Ugh.

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Lexi Langer, Reporter

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, students will begin taking the Keystone Exams. Those taking English 10 Accelerated or English 11 will be testing on the 9th and 10th. Algebra 1 or Applied Algebra 2 students will take the exams on the 11th and 12th, and Biology 1 Accelerated or Biology 2 students will test on the 16th and 17th.

There are four score ranges for the Keystones: below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced. Starting with the class of 2019, achieving at least a proficient or advanced score is necessary for graduation. All students will need a score of at least 1500 to graduate, and the highest score possible is 1800.
Between the students and teachers of General McLane, there are mixed feelings about the exams.

A sophomore who wishes to remain anonymous said, “I feel like the teachers are wasting time preparing kids for a standardized test rather than going through the curriculum in more detail.” This student believes that students should be focused more on learning information rather than passing a test for graduation.

On the contrary, freshman Aralyn Lewin thinks, “The Keystones are a good way to evaluate how much we’ve learned in our classes.” Based on this opinion, the exam scores will help determine what classes students take and how the teachers teach the next year.

Mrs. Yonko would disagree, firmly stating, “I think the standards in the state of Pennsylvania are a good idea, but I don’t think the Keystone test is a good way to assess the way that I teach during class.”
Many students at GM agree that the exams themselves are not necessarily difficult, they just get in the way of our other school priorities.

“As long as you study a little bit, they’re not that hard. Just focus,” said sophomore Josiah Burkett. Freshman Josh Salisbury would agree with this statement, saying, “I don’t think that they’re that much of an issue seeing how much we study and review throughout the whole year.”

Based on student input, there is definitely enough preparation for the exams during classes, but some feel like they do not completely understand the information to apply it in real life.

Overall, most opinions about the Keystones are negative or critical, and a majority of students and teachers would opt out of taking or giving the exams if given a choice.