Saturday, September 17, 2016

NEW Keystone Exams for Students in 2017 or 2018

Thanks to Senator Dinniman, we have recourse for students in the class of 2017 and 2018 who are being placed in remedial classes, PBA, and/or 'required' to re-take the Keystone Exam(s).  Senator Dinniman had a Town Hall meeting  on September 12, 2016 and explained his plan to file amicus briefs on behalf of parents to file a lawsuit against the PDE.  During that meeting it was explained:
 An amicus brief would be filed by a legislator such as Senator Dinniman (who is not specifically affected by the action) on behalf of students/families that are directly impacted by the issue at hand. Possible examples of those who are directly impacted by the Keystone graduation requirement are: 
1. A student who has been prevented from receiving a high school diploma in 2016 as a result of not testing Proficient on one or more Keystones; 
2. A student who is being forced to take the Keystones repeatedly over the next several years (which could result in injurious consequences -- perhaps psychologically -- such as affecting the student’s mental health); 
3. A student who, as a result of not having passed a Keystone, is being placed in remedial courses and/or is required to take a type of Project Based Assessment (whether or not it is called by that name). Inordinate amounts of time spent on remediation could prevent the student from reaching his full educational potential in that it could preclude him from taking courses that would be more related to his individual educational pursuits and/or vocational goals. 
The first step:  parents request in writing (email is best) to their principal and superintendent that their child will not take the Keystone exams and/or is to be removed from from the PBA, and any remedial Keystone class.  The next step would be to contact Senator Dinniman for an amicus brief.  Below is a sample letter.

Dear Superintendent and Principal, 
Pleased be advised that pursuant to Act 1, (student name) will not take the Keystone exam and is to be immediately removed from the PBA and/or remedial class that (student name) was placed in that requires proficiency due to not passing the Keystone exam.  

If this request is denied please provide in writing a statement explaining the reason.  If (student name) is not removed from the PBA/or remedial class, then I will be submitting an amicus brief to Senator Andy Dinniman for the purpose of a lawsuit.

For your reference, Act 1 says:

(1)  Notwithstanding section 2604-B(b)(2)(v), 22 Pa. Code § 4.24 (relating to high school graduation requirements), 4.51 (relating to State assessment system) or 4.51c (relating to project-based assessment) or any statute or regulation to the contrary, the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in a project-based assessment shall be delayed until the 2018-2019 school year.

I look forward to your confirmation that (student name) has been removed from the PBA/or remedial class and will not be taking the Keystone exams.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Opt Out of Opt Out

Personalized Learning: A Threat to Education

Over the past three years I have opted out.  I've helped hundreds of parents and encouraged thousands more to opt their kids out of standardized tests too.  Each year our opt out "movement" has grown exponentially.  We were well connected, well informed and ready to battle against all things related to standardized testing.  We appeared to be well on our way to being a part of a change to the testing climate in schools across the country.

The changes coming to education as a result of federal and state level educational policies and the opt out movement turns out to be  worse than the testing and ALL the related issues surrounding standardized tests.

We are at a pivotal turning point in history.  There has been a transformation in education that has been slowly and quietly creeping in for decades and we are at the end days of education as we all know it, and we don't even know it.

Parents have increasingly opted out because:

  • Students are over tested
  • Students should have a broader curriculum that includes Arts and Humanities
  • Students are unique individuals not standardized.
  • Students learn in different ways at a different pace.
  • Students are more than a test score.

Ed-tech corporations feel the same way.  Students should take less tests and be assessed as individuals who should be able to learn at their own pace because they are more than a test score!

What does that really mean?  Here is where the pivotal turning point in history happens.  It's called Competency Based Education (CBE) or Mass Customized Learning (MCL).  Essentially, under the guise of 'personalized learning' it's education done with technology (computer devices) rather than humans (teachers) on a large scale level, like worldwide. 

We have it already, every state does.  In Pennsylvania where I reside, our schools use Study Island, CDT's and other similar online programs as well as hybrid courses.  Hybrid courses are where students are in a classroom with a teacher for 1-2 days and the rest of the coursework is done online, usually during a study hall or at home.  As the transition to more technology-based educational programs is occurring, critical and damaging changes are happening to the student-teacher and student-peer relationships.

High quality certified teachers will be deemed unnecessary in a classroom with increasing class sizes, replaced by facilitators who just need to monitor that students are on task on their devices.  Think about that for a moment.  Teachers who have 6-8 years of college education, and years of teacher experience in classrooms with student interaction will be obsolete, replaced by low-pay, inexperienced, untrained facilitators.  Then add the harmful impact of children being on a device for many hours a day to the physical, mental and emotional health of students - things are moving in the wrong direction, fast!!

Opt out has created the awareness that students are being tested too much and that the big test in the spring is complicated, unreliable and expensive.  With that opt out has given parents a way to protect their children from the testing and data mining.  However, the opt out movement has fed directly into the Ed-tech politically and financially driven corporate reforms, perfectly.  The problem was created with the poorly written tests, scores that don't come back in a timely or useful manner and lack of transparency of the actual tests.  Then backlash came from parents who opted out.  The problem was created, festered for a few years, and now big changes are imminent.  Over the next year, with the transition to ESSA into each state the educational environment with continue to change, this time it's going to be drastic.

There won't be a big test in the spring to opt out of, assessments will be embedded into the curriculum via 'stealth' assessments because students, teachers and parents won't know when a student is being assessed.  Nor will they know what content is being used with each student - an online, adaptive curriculum that will be disconnected from teachers and parents.  Online programs created by corporations who have little to no background or training in education, subject content areas or what is developmentally appropriate for children at each grade level.  Data-mining will be massive with the capacity to track students at every key stroke.

Soon, parents will not be able to opt out.  That is intentional thanks to our federal and state legislators and the Ed-tech corporations who create and make billions of dollars off the backs of students.

The time to take action is now.  Some things parents can do are:

  • Decline or refuse Google Apps for Education (GAFE)
  • Decline a google email account for your student
  • Request a group or anonymous ID for login
  • Request paper/pencil 
  • Write to your local and state legislators
For more helpful information:

wrenchinthegears writes:  Stop!  Don't opt out.  Read this first.

Opt out families are being set up as pawns in this fake “assessment reform” movement. I began to realize this a year ago when our dysfunctional, Broad Superintendent-led school district was suddenly almost eager to help us inform parents of their rights to opt out. It wasn’t until the ESSA passed, and I started learning more about competency-based education, out-of-school time learning, and workforce badging that the bigger picture came into focus.

Peggy Robertson, Busted Pencils: Opt Out is Dead
“The key is refusing the online testing and curriculum IN MASS. One person trying to do this alone has a hard road and a slim chance of succeeding – ultimately this online curriculum will be tied to grades (and already is in many cities), therefore making it more challenging to refuse.  Parents and citizens, in mass, who speak to the school board, who publicize their desire to refuse this online curriculum, can win. Expose it. Gather support. And REFUSE IT. Demand authentic learning by authentic teachers in democratic classroom settings.”
Cheri Kiesecker, Missouri Education Watchdog: ABCs of Classrooms at Risk: Don’t Just Opt Out
“Ask your school what online vendors (like Knewton) they use. Ask to see data contracts, the data collected and shared. Ask why your child is exposed to more and more screen time, and industrial strength Wi-Fi at school. Ask to have the radiation levels measured, and ask to follow these best practices when using Wi-Fi.  Ask to have amount of screen time documented and limited to pediatrician recommended limits.  Remember your child’s  classroom, your child,  is being subjected to much more than just one end of the year test. When you think Opt Out, think big.  Think more. Think Protect the Child….all year.”

Kevin Ohlandt, Exceptional Delaware: Opt Out as we know it is dead. Long live the badge.
If you are with me and agree, join me.  Join those of us, across the country, who believe children should not be guinea pigs for futurists and their money-making agendas.  Talk to your legislators.  Find out what upcoming legislation would allow this future, whether it is Blockchain technology or something else.  Look for “Pay for Success” legislation which has corporations hedge bets based on student outcomes, otherwise known as Social Impact Bonds.  Tell them to fight this and advocate for the restoration of FERPA to pre-2011 levels.  Speak out and share information with other parents and friends.  Opt Out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment is dead.  It is now time to opt out of anything which will bring this future to pass and will cause more harm to your children than anything before.
Emily Talmage, Saving Maine’s Schools: Parents: Time to Step Up Our Game
“It’s time for us to dial up the original Opt Out spirit – the one that wasn’t afraid to say hell no – and realize that we’re going to need to extend this fight way beyond the big end-of-year-test.
Data-mining.  Key-stroke tracking.  Collection of sensitive personal information that ends up in the hands of advertisers.  Digital badging.  Unhealthy amounts of screen time. Growing class sizes. Depleted school budgets.
If I sound alarmist, it’s because I’m a mom and a teacher, so we’re talking about my kids here. I am seriously alarmed.”

Friday, September 2, 2016

Senator Dinniman - Keystone Exam Issues/Parental Input Request

Please read the below email from Senator Dinniman and his request from parents or organizations who might want to take the PDE to court and for amicus briefs.  Please also consider attending the meeting on September 12th mentioned below.  

To Supporters of Ending Common Core Exams in Pennsylvania:

Despite Act 1 of 2016, which suspended any use of the Keystone exams or the Project Based Assessments for graduation purposes during the two year period of 2016-18, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is blatantly ignoring the law and issuing directives to local school districts to use the exam if they want to for graduation.

It certainly appears that PDE has shown their solid commitment to the Common Core testing process and the continued collection of data.  They don’t seem to care about or respect the law.  This is not government by the elected legislature but government by the bureaucracy.

You will be interested to learn the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, since 2008, spent $1.1 billion on these Common Core tests, with $741 million of that going to one testing company, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC).

Please view the supporting material at the following links:
1. An explanation of the Data Recognition Corp. (DRC) contracts.

2. A chart showing the DRC contracts, which come to $741,158,039.60, and the total paid to date of $440,512,625.69.

3. A listing of material requested from PDE but, as of this date, not provided.
4. A column from the July 23, 2016 New York Times  providing background on these Common Core Exams, which in Pennsylvania are the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone Exams.
Additionally, it appears that PDE is forcing the children of parents who opted out to take the Project Based Assessment, whose use is currently suspended by the legislature.  There seems to be no respect by PDE for the rights of parents concerning their own children.

So the question now is “what will we do about this situation?”  If you know parents or organizations who might want to take PDE to court or file amicus briefs, let me know.  

In the meantime, I am having a meeting for those concerned about PDE’s actions in my district office, One North Church Street, West Chester, on Monday, September 12th, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

This is a matter of great importance.  A number of us have been working for years against excessive testing and have serious concerns about Common Core.  Please invite your friends to join in the September 12th meeting.


Andrew E. Dinniman

State Senator, 19th District

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Opt Out Letters 2016-2017

Letter for online programs and assessments such as PSSA and keystone exam test prep, CASEL, surveys, questionnaires etc.

I am writing to inform you that [my child] be excused from all CDT, Study Island and any other computer assessments, questionnaires, surveys and programs.  If there is a computerized assessment or program my [son/daughter] must take, I require prior written parental informed consent.  I would also request an anonymous student login where [his/her] name or student ID is not attached or paper/pencil assessment where data mining would be limited. 

Please remove my child from any and all CASEL programs, including, but not limited to the programs listed below.

After much research regarding common core, Pennsylvania’s statewide longitudinal data system and its collection and sharing requirements, I have become even more suspicious and skeptical on the state's ability to secure data.  Since my [son/daughter] is not of legal age to legally bind [herself/himself] to ownership of [her/his] personal data, that responsibility falls on [her/his] parents.  Since the Pennsylvania Department of Education will not allow parents to opt out of the increasingly invasive data collection through PIMS I will remove [him/her] from the means for data collection. 

I am sure you can appreciate my desire to protect [name] from the possibility of identity theft at an early age.  While I do have concerns with the educational value, security and privacy of the common core aligned CDT, Study Island, GAFE (Google Apps For Education) and especially the new CASEL programs, my biggest concern with electronic assessments is data collection and privacy of my minor child and the adverse repercussions of personal data on college and career opportunities.

Source and descriptions of programs:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Keystone Graduation Requirement Changes

The Pennsylvania Department of Education had to respond to the issues around the Keystone exam requirement and the PBA.  THIS IS THEIR REPORT, which needs to go to the general assembly for a vote.  Once it does, students will have four options to get through the Keystone exams.

This is the PDE recommendations from page 3 of the above linked report:

  1. Adopt and implement four options for students to demonstrate postsecondary readiness as follows:
    1. Option 1: Achieve an identified composite score, based on performance across all three
      Keystone exams (Algebra I, Biology and Literature);
    2. Option 2: Achieve equivalent score(s) in standards-based subject matter content area(s) on one
      of the alternate assessments approved by PDE;
    3. Option 3: Demonstrate competency in standards-based subject matter content through course
      grades or assessments plus, for students who are identified as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrators, demonstrate evidence of readiness for postsecondary success through National Occupancy Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI)/National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Skills assessments or Competency Certificates; and
    4. Option 4: Demonstrate competency in standards-based subject matter content through course grades or assessments plus evidence related to postsecondary plans that demonstrate readiness to meaningfully engage in those plans.
  2. Discontinue the use of Project Based Assessments as an option for meeting state graduation requirements.
  3. Allow local education agencies (LEA) to determine whether or not to include Keystone exam scores on student transcripts. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ACTION: Keystone Exam Grad Requirement for 2016, 2017 & 2018

Senator Dinniman firmly asserts that students in the class of 2016, 2017 and 2018 cannot be required to pass the Keystone exam for a graduation requirement due to the passing of SB 880. School districts cannot make a local decision on this. SB 880 is the law of the state and overrides local school districts decision to use the Keystone exam as a graduation requirement. 

If you are having issues with your school district about the Keystone exam graduation requirement, email: the below information and I will forward to Senator Dinniman:

  1. School district
  2. Year student graduates 
  3. Link to your school website where it states they are still requiring students in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to pass the KE as a grad requirement (if applicable)
  4. A statement of your situation
Sample statement (can be as short or long as you are comfortable with):  
My daughter is in the class of 2017 and is required to either pass the Keystone exam or take a class her senior year that would cover the content of Biology.  This means she would miss out on an elective that she was looking forward to.  She has taken the Biology KE twice and didn't score proficient, however her grade in Biololgy class was a B.

These will be forwarded to Senator Dinniman over the next couple of days and he is going to handle this as soon as they get back in session on May 4th. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

CBE - Competency Based Education

In PA we currently have CBE in the form of CDT’s and Study Island which are given to students in grades 3-12 and PBA (Project Based Assessment, or in the form of a remedial class where students must score 70% or higher to pass and used as a graduation requirement) , which are given to students (generally in high school) if they don’t score proficient in the Keystone Exams.  

What CBE means for students in Pennsylvania, is MORE time doing these electronic programs, many created like ‘gaming’ video games to keep students interest.  Students would be on electronic devices for many hours a day while in school.  They would proceed on these online programs until they attain “proficiency”, no matter if it takes weeks or months on a certain module.  This also means teachers would no longer be teaching, they would be reduced  to facilitators, with minimal interaction with students.  

There are health concerns with the time spent using electronic devices and there are concerns with the decline of social interaction between students and their peers.  The most dangerous aspect is data mining and privacy as everything a student does on the computer will be collected and shared.

Snapshot - Global Education 2015-2035 HERE

Parents Beware
Across the country, states are adopting corporate-driven policies to experiment with “competency-based” and “personalized learning,” even though there is no sound research proving that these are effective educational models.
Complete article HERE

Personalized Learning:  How Big is the Beast?

With its reliance on one-to-one digital devices, digital courseware, artificial intelligence, and massive data collection, personalized learning promises to reap big rewards for investors and corporate executives.  Just how big is the beast? Let’s take a look.  Complete article HERE

Pearson: Competency-based education will replace standardized testing

The Pearson Publishing Company has explicitly stated that their new competency-based programs, now in development, will replace standardized testing. "With ongoing AIEd (Artificial Intelligence Education) analysis of a student’s learning activities, there will be no need for the stop-and-test approach that characterizes many current assessments."  Compete article HERE

The Most Intrusive Technology of All Time
The Pearson Publishing Company has suggested that technology not only be used to teach content, as in competency-based programs, but should, at the same time, evaluate students' emotional states (Luckin et. al., p. 25).  This is without question the most intrusive idea I have ever seen, not only in education but anywhere.  Complete article HERE

Computers in class 'a scandalous waste of time'
“I’ve seen so many schools with limited budgets spending a disproportionate amount of their money on technology that doesn’t really bring any measurable, or non-measurable, benefits,’’ he said.
“Schools have spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars­ on interactive whiteboards, digital projectors, and now they’re all being jettisoned.’’  Complete article HERE

The Future Of Education Is A Very Dark Place. The Future Is Now

Why was 2015-2016 so important for education?  If you haven’t been paying attention, there is a flurry of activity going on with more changes than any one person can keep track of.  These events were planned years ago.  Some say 2007, but I estimate much of this has been planned since 1992.  There are more political and corporate players involved in these agendas then we can imagine.  It is a cabal of billionaires and futurists carefully and methodically transforming society to their warped ideals.  Complete article HERE

Future Agenda's for Global Education
“The coming decades will see an era of the most radical changes in education since the appearance of national education systems. And the source of these changes will not be in the educational system itself, but rather it will be driven primarily by industries: digital technologies, healthcare, and finance.”  Complete article HERE

Global Education Futures Forum HERE 

Resources for more information on CBE:
Save Maine Schools - Emily Talmage
SKrashen - S. Krashen

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PSSA Opt Out 2016

This post contains information on how to opt out of the PSSA's and FAQ.

Join this Facebook group if you are interested in connecting with other parents in PA who are considering opting out to share and discuss issues relating to PA opt out.

How to Opt Out of the PSSA's

STEP 1:  Parent sends letter to the building principal that you plan to opt out.
STEP 2:  Parent reviews test at school.  
STEP 3:  Parent sends another letter stating that you have reviewed the test and are opting out for religious beliefs.

Please note that the only reason for opting out is religious beliefs and you do not need to provide any specific details as to what your religious beliefs are, just state "for religious beliefs".  Also, letters can be mailed or emailed.  I like emails because then you have record that it was sent.

STEP 1:  Parent sends letter to the building principal that you plan to opt out.

Dear Superintendent,
Pursuant to Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(4) I am hereby exercising my right as a parent to have my child, [NAME], excused from PSSA testing because of religious beliefs.
STEP 2:  Parent reviews test at school.
Two weeks prior to the testing window, exams must be made available for review.  School districts must provide a convenient time for the review.  Parents will need sign the 'Parent Confidentiality Agreement' that simply states they will not share what is on the test with anyone

STEP 3:  Parent sends another letter stating that you have reviewed the test and are opting out for religious beliefs.  This letter can be handed in at the time you review the PSSA.
Dear Superintendent,
On [Date] I had the opportunity to review the PSSA test and pursuant to Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(4) I am hereby exercising my right as a parent to have my child, [Name] excused from PSSA testing because of religious beliefs.  
Superintendent reviews the request and this request cannot be denied.

School personnel must provide an alternative learning environment for the student during the assessment and complete the “Non-Assessed Students” grid by selecting “Student had a parental request for exclusion from the assessment.”

PSSA Opt Out - Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Do I need to explain my religious beliefs with specific questions from the PSSA test on my opt out letter?

No.  A parent simply states "because of religious beliefs."  Once a parent reviews the PSSA, this is all that needs to be included in the letter:
On [Date] I had the opportunity to review the PSSA test and pursuant to Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(4) I am hereby exercising my right as a parent to have my child, [Name] excused from PSSA testing because of religious beliefs.  
Parents must sign a confidentiality agreement. If they state anything specific from the PSSA test, THEY WILL BREACH THE CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT. Parents cannot, by nature of the confidentiality agreement, write specifically what they oppose for religious reasons on the PSSA test.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education explains this, see page 4, question 10 at  Chapter 4 FAQ.
So, as long as a parent or guardian reviews the state assessment and provides a written statement providing his/her written objection for religious purposes (however vague that objection may be), the child must be excused from the assessment. PDE will not provide an opinion as to what is a proper religious objection.
This false statement, and other similar false statements have been given to parents from their school districts:
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has made it clear that any objection to the testing materials for religious reasons must be specific in nature, must note the specific question or questions that are objectionable and the specific, religious reason for your objection. Please note a general statement of religious objection does not meet the intention of this review and will not be considered for possible exemption.
 2.  My child is opted out of the PSSA testing, what will they do while their classmates are taking the PSSA's?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) on page 9 of the PSSA Handbook. :
If the student is excused from the assessment due to parental or guardian request, school personnel must provide an alternative learning environment for the student during the assessment and select “Student had a parental request for exclusion from the assessment."
3.  When can I schedule to review the PSSA?  My school district has offered limited hours which makes it difficult for me to schedule a time to review.  

From page 9 of the 2015 PSSA Handbook for Assessment Coordinators:
Districts must provide a convenient time for the review. This may include an evening review time, if requested.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

PDE Clarification on SB 880

Subject: Penn*Link FAQ: Clarification of Senate Bill 880 Impact on Schools


Pennsylvania Department of Education
Bureau of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction
March 7, 2016
Penn*Link Message

To:    School Districts
    Career and Technical Centers
    Charter Schools
    Private and Non-Public Schools
    Intermediate Units
    Higher Education Institutions

From:    Jean Inskip, Director
Re:    FAQ: Clarification of Senate Bill 880 Impact on Schools

On February 3, 2016, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 880 into law. In addition to delaying the use of Keystone Exams or the Project Based Assessments as graduation requirements until the 2018-2019 school year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has been charged with the following:

- Implement alternative methods for students to demonstrate proficiency for graduation in addition to the Keystone Exams, Project Based Assessment and other alternative assessments provided for in 22 Pa. Code § 4.24.
- Improve and expedite the evaluation of Project Based Assessments.
- Ensure that no student is prohibited from participation in vocational-technical education or elective courses or programs as a result of supplemental instruction as required in § 22 Pa. Code §§ 4.24 (k) and 4.51B (f).

To provide direction to LEAs, PDE provides the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to clarify the implications of SB 880.

Questions may be directed to


With Senate Bill 880 signed into law by Governor Wolf on February 3, 2016, the use of Keystone Exams as a state graduation requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in a Project Based Assessment is delayed until the 2018-2019 school year.

The FAQs below are designed to clarify the implications of SB 880 and provide guidance for LEAs.

This Frequently Asked Questions document is designed to address the impact on students who will graduate prior to 2019.

1.    Is participation in the Keystone Exams still required?

The federal requirements regarding state assessments have not changed.  While students graduating prior to 2019 are no longer required to demonstrate proficiency on the Keystone Exams in order to meet the state graduation requirements, participation in the state assessments     remains a federal requirement.
2.    Given SB 880, what graduation requirements remain for students in the graduating classes of 2017 and 2018?  
The following modified Chapter 4 requirements shall apply:     •    Course completion and grades.
    •    Demonstration of proficiency as determined by the school district, charter school (including a cyber charter school) or AVTS, if applicable, in each of the state academic standards not assessed by a state assessment under § 4.51, § 4.51a or § 4.51b (relating to state assessment system; Pennsylvania System of School Assessment; and Keystone Exams).
Note:  The paragraph above should also apply to the English Language Arts and Mathematics; Science and Technology and Environment and Ecology standards based upon the two-year delay provided by Senate Bill 880.

3.  If a student is graduating prior to 2019 and has not achieved proficiency on a Keystone Exam, is supplemental instruction still required?

 Schools shall offer supplemental instruction but students are not required to participate.  The design of supplemental instruction remains a local decision.
4.    May a school use Project Based Assessments (PBAs) as supplemental instruction?
If a student elects to receive supplemental instruction, the PBA is a viable option.  Note, however, that the evaluation of the project will conclude with the tutor’s evaluation.  No outside evaluation will occur.
5.    May a school continue to use Project Based Assessments (PBAs) for students who have not scored at a proficient level?
The PBA will be available as an option for schools; however, the evaluation of the project will conclude with the tutor’s evaluation.  No outside evaluation will occur. (Please note that all PBAs that have been submitted or are in progress will still be scored by PDE.)
6.    If a student is graduating prior to 2019 and has not achieved proficiency on a Keystone Exam after one administration, is a retest required?
Retesting is not required; however, a student may retest.  If a student does retest, the school must offer supplemental instruction prior to the retesting.
7.    What requirements are in place regarding transcripts?
Chapter 4 requirements regarding transcripts are still applicable:
§ 4.24. High school graduation requirements. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the performance level demonstrated in each of the academic standards in subsections (c)—(e) shall be included on student transcripts. The information presented on a transcript must include the highest performance level demonstrated by a student on the associated Keystone Exam, validated local assessment or project-based assessment at the time the transcript is produced.
8.    If a student has scored a satisfactory mark on a Project Based Assessment (PBA), may the transcript reflect a proficient mark?
 If a student successfully completes a PBA, the transcript may be revised to reflect Proficient.
9.    In summary, what parts of Chapter 4 are suspended?
The following highlights the impact of the moratorium on students graduating in 2017 and 2018:     •    The state graduation requirement to demonstrate proficiency on the associated Keystone Exam or related Project Based Assessment is suspended.     •    The administration of Project Based Assessments for students not proficient after two Keystone attempts is not required.     •    Student participation in supplemental instruction is no longer required; however, a school must offer supplemental instruction as an option. (See #3 and 6 above.)
10.    Looking ahead, what options will be available to students to meet the state graduation requirements after the expiration of the moratorium?
As required by SB 880, PDE has been charged with investigating and developing alternatives in addition to the use of the Keystone Exams as a requirement for graduation and shall within six months issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly     regarding the following:     
•    Implement alternative methods for students to demonstrate proficiency for graduation in addition to Keystone Exams, Project Based Assessments and other alternatives provided for in Chapter 4. 
•    Improve and expedite the evaluation of Project Based Assessments.     
•    Ensure that no student is prohibited from participation in vocational-technical education or elective courses or programs as a result of supplemental instruction.
PDE will be implementing an outreach plan to solicit feedback from stakeholders across the state to accomplish these tasks.
11.    If a student who is graduating in 2017 or 2018 opts out of the Keystone Exams, does he/she go on to complete a PBA?
    The PBA is not required.
12.    Does the 10 percent waiver apply?
 Since the state graduation requirement has been suspended, the waiver does not apply.