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Lawmakers Mull Putting a Hold on Keystone Exams

PALMYRA TOWNSHIP — Students in pennsylvania have to pass the Keystone Exams in order to graduate high school. State lawmakers are considering putting that...

PALMYRA TOWNSHIP -- Students in pennsylvania have to pass the Keystone Exams in order to graduate high school.
State lawmakers are considering putting that on hold.  It's a  move that is welcomed by some educators and parents in the Poconos.

Students at Wallenpaupack Area high school have been taking the Keystone Exams this week.

Failing any one of them is not an option if students in the class of 2017 and beyond want to graduate.

"To base their graduation eligibility on a single assessment is really unfair, we`re asking for options," said Wallenpaupack Area principal Jay Starnes.

Dr. Jay Starnes is principal at the high school and calls the Keystone Exams "high stakes."  He says not all students test well and many are failing the Keystones and having to take them again and again.

"It costs time obviously because students have to retake courses they've already taken or they have to be pulled out of courses in order to remediate."

State lawmakers are considering a moratorium on the requirement to pass the Keystone Exams in order to graduate. They want time to find alternatives for students.

Some parents say they support the idea.

"I think it is too much. I think these kids have a large enough work load and the last thing they need is another standardized test," said Lori Hibbs, a parent.

"She finds all of the testing, continuous testing, very daunting. I`m certain all of the children here do," said Janine Bogart-Mandrik.

Students at Wallenpaupack Area high school had to miss numerous days this year for snow days and the manhunt for Eric Frein. That's why they're in the midst of testing right now. It's expected to continue for the the next two weeks.

"We want to do what`s right for our kids, we want them to have as may opportunities to show proficiency and to be successful in school. But we want alternatives for kids who need an alternative to show proficiency in another way," said Starnes

If state lawmakers approve the moratorium  school officials say Pennsylvania would also need a waiver from the federal government  since the Keystone Exams were created to comply with "No Child Left Behind."