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Keystone Exams and Classroom Diagnostic Tools Pennsylvania Department of Education

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Keystone Exams


Classroom Diagnostic Tools

Pennsylvania Department of Education

keystone exams overview
Keystone Exams Overview

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in the subject areas of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Literature, English Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History, and Civics and Government.

  • One component of Pennsylvania’s high school graduation requirements beginning for the graduating class of 2014-2015
  • Taken as an end-of-course exam near the end of course completion that counts for at least one-third of the final course grade
    • PDE recommends administering the English Composition Keystone Exam at the end of English 9 and Literature at the end of English 10
  • Available to students either online or paper-pencil
  • Comprised of two (2) modules
  • Multiple-Choice (MC) and Constructed-Response (CR) items
keystone exams fall 2010
Keystone Exams Fall 2010
  • Field test of Algebra I, Biology, and Literature
  • Available to mostly students in high school, but may include middle school students
  • Online and/or paper-pencil assessment comprised of two modules
  • Multiple-Choice (MC) and Constructed-Response (CR) items
  • Approximately 2-2 ½ hours for each exam, 1-1 ¼ hours per module
  • Student should be assigned to an assessment based on course enrollment in the 2009-2010 school year
  • Field test results will be provided for participating districts
keystone exams spring 2011
Keystone Exams Spring 2011
  • First operational administrations of Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature
  • Field test administrations of Algebra 2, Geometry, and English Composition
  • Testing window will be beginning of May 2011 (exact dates not yet finalized)
  • Students nearing completion of a course are eligible to take the course-specific Keystone Exam
keystone exams spring 20111
Keystone Exams Spring 2011
  • Online and paper-pencil formats available
  • Paper/pencil testing materials will arrive in two shipments
    • Administrative materials arrive four weeks prior to the window
    • Secure materials arrive two weeks prior to the window
  • Paper-pencil testing materials are returned after each subject is complete
  • Preliminary results provided around the end of May
  • Final results (with performance levels) provided later in summer (Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature only)
keystone exams resources
Keystone Assessment Anchors at

Click on clear standards

Click on download PDF’s

Keystone Exams Resources
graduation policy
Graduation Policy

Under the new regulation and beginning with the class of 2015, students can meet graduation requirements through any of the following options determined by the district:

graduation policy 2 phases
Graduation Policy 2 Phases

Students in classes of 2015 and 2016 must demonstrate proficiency in:

  • English Composition
  • Literature
  • Algebra I, and
  • Biology
phase 2 class of 2017 and beyond
Phase 2- Class of 2017 and beyond

Students must demonstrate proficiency in six of ten content areas:

  • Both English Composition and Literature;
  • Two of three Mathematics (Algebra I, Algebra II, or Geometry);
  • One of two Sciences (Biology or Chemistry); and
  • One of three Social Studies (American History, Civics and Government or World History).
district choice
District Choice
  • Keystone Exams will count for at least 1/3 of the final course grade; or NEW:
  • Keystones used as a local assessment and students must score proficient or advanced.
  • Locally designed and independently validated assessments
district choice1
District Choice

Pass Rigorous National Assessments

  • National assessments are the Advanced Placement (AP) Exams and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams
  • PDE will release policy guidance regarding the minimum score on each that is needed to satisfy graduation requirements
project based alternative
Project Based Alternative
  • A student who does not score “proficient” on a Keystone Exam after two attempts will be eligible to complete a project-based assessment
project based assessment
Project–Based Assessment

Projects will be:

  • aligned with the Keystone Exam modules
  • developed by the department
  • administered by school staff
  • scored by regional panels of educators
  • developed so that points will be added to a student’s highest Keystone score if his/her performance is judged “satisfactory.”
eligibility for projects
Eligibility for Projects

Students will qualify for projects if he/she:

  • has taken the course.
  • was unsuccessful after two attempts with the Keystone exam.
  • has met the district’s attendance requirements for the course.
  • has participated in supplemental instructional services.
cdt overview
CDT Overview

The Classroom Diagnostic Tools provide a diagnosis of students’ strengths and weaknesses to guide instruction and/or remediation.

  • Available to students in grades 6 through high school
  • Online assessments delivered in a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) format
  • Multiple-choice items
  • Multiple assessments a year
  • Real-time reporting
  • Reports dynamically linked to curriculum resources in SAS
cdt fall 2010
CDT Fall 2010
  • Field Test Event for Science and Reading
    • Available to students in grades 4 through high school
      • Assesses content in Science and Reading grades 3-8, Biology, Chemistry, Literature
    • Multiple-Choice (MC) items
    • Single assessment – approximately 1 class period (45-60 minutes)
      • Student should be assigned to an assessment based on course/grade enrollment in the 2009-2010 school year
    • Field test results will be provided for participating districts
  • Operational Mathematics Available to Schools –

October 18, 2010

cdt reporting
CDT Reporting
  • Reporting for the CDT will be available on DRC’s eDirect system
  • Results will be linked to Materials and Resources on SAS
  • Three types of reports will be provided
    • Group Diagnostic Map
    • Student Diagnostic Map
    • Learning Progression Map

Fall 2010 Field Tests --

Administrative Key Dates

data management
Data Management

PIMS data was uploaded to DRC’s test setup system (eDIRECT)

Student-level data

Teacher-level data (not required for field test events)

School/district personnel will use eDIRECT to set up and manage all online testing

data management1
Data Management

For fall 2010, district personnel will be able to upload student and teacher data directly to eDIRECT

Any student data updated or uploaded in eDIRECT must also be updated or uploaded in PIMS

PIMS data and data uploaded into eDIRECT will be used to generate student Precode Labels (paper-pencil Keystone Exams)


Contact Information

Richard Maraschiello

[email protected]

Phone: 717-525-5746

DRC Pennsylvania Customer Service Team

Phone: 1-888-551-6935

Fax: 763-268-2567

[email protected]