FAHS Chooses Paper over Computers for Halted Keystones

Posted on June 16, 2011 by

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Students at Fleetwood Area High School and everywhere else in the country take standardized tests. Up until this year, the only tests that were required in Pennsylvania were the PSSAs. However, the Department of Education decided  to start administering the Keystone Exams in the hope of someday replacing the PSSAs.

The Keystone exams are tests given at the end of a course to assess proficiency in Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Literature, Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S History, World History, and Civics/Government. The tests take a little over three hours to complete. The ninth and tenth grade students at FAHS completed paper and pencil tests for literature, biology, and algebra I this year. At the moment, however, the Keystones are not a requirement for graduation.  Students also completed field tests online for geometry and algebra II.

Fleetwood mostly issued paper and pencil tests for many reasons. There are only four computer rooms in the school, so getting all of the students in these spaces would be challenging. While the school does have several laptop carts, state regulations prohibit the wireless submission of the exams because of concerns over confidentiality and fairness.  Students who did take the Keystones online said that the test-taking tools weren’t effective. Some students even complained that the computers froze.

“I think it is safer for the students to use paper and pencil rather than use the online version in case of an overload or the computers freezing,” said FAHS Principal Michael DeAntonio.

The students that took the test had many different opinions about them.

“The Keystone Exams were insulting to my intelligence because the English portion didn’t make any sense and everything was extremely tedious,” said Carol Zheng, a sophomore at Fleetwood .

“They weren’t that bad. I got to miss my first four of classes,” sophomore Desirae Lesher admits.

The Keystone exams only began this year, but they are being temporarily halted for next year due to the current diminution of education in Governor Corbett’s proposed budget.

“We are hoping to reinstate the Keystone Exams in 2013” stated guidance counselor Melanie Phillips.

Phillips stressed the word “hope” because so much is in the air regarding the Governor’s budget for the school year following the next.

Either way, the students don’t seemed to be very concerned if they are never forced to take the test again.

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