Beginning in 2017, students will need to pass Keystone Exams, which are state assessment tests, in algebra I, biology and literature in order to graduate. In 2019, the Keystone Exam requirement will include an exam in composition and in 2020, a civics and government exam will be added as a graduation requirement. The exams will be scored on a scale of 1-4, and students must earn a 3 to pass.
Those who fail will have the opportunity to retake an exam twice. Those who fail the second retake will be able to seek alternative options, such as taking AP exams or completing a project that meets the approval of district officials. Some students with disabilities are exempt from taking keystone examinations.
Culminating or Senior Project
Since 2001, all Pennsylvania students have been required to complete a culminating or senior project by the end of their final year. Students have typically started working on this major research project during their sophomore year and usually collaborate with a mentor from the project's initial development to its completion. The project has served as an opportunity for students to showcase their talents and interests, and demonstrate their abilities go beyond what is taught in a conventional high school curriculum.
However, beginning in 2017, with the start of the Keystone Exam requirements, state law will no longer require a senior project in order for students to earn a Pennsylvania high school diploma.