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Graduation Requirement on Hold for Keystone Exams

HAZLETON — Hazleton Area High School has more than 3,300 students and up until now they and other high school students in Pennsylvania were required to pa...

HAZLETON -- Hazleton Area High School has more than 3,300 students and up until now they and other high school students in Pennsylvania were required to pass the Keystone Exams in order to graduate.

That requirement came to a halt when the governor signed a law on Wednesday that put the requirement on hold for two years.

The governor's office says statewide a growing number of students were failing to demonstrate proficiency on the exams that test algebra, biology and literature.

"To have a single assessment if you will, one size fits all, high-stakes exam that determines a students graduation or lack of graduation, I think is ill-advised," Hazleton Area School District superintendent, Dr. Craig Butler said.

Students that have already taken the Keystone Exams admit it was a very difficult exam.

They are hoping without the graduation requirement,  students will have more time to get prepared.

"I came into high school knowing the typical you had to do a graduation project to graduate. When we heard that we have to pass these standardized tests to graduate. It was kind of like you really need to work a little hard," high school senior, Angela LaRose said.

Principal Rocco Petrone thinks delaying the graduation requirement for the Keystone Exams will be beneficial for those who struggle to reach proficiency in all three subjects.

"They would have been required to do an online project for each of the three exams in the Keystone area that they didn't reach proficiency," Petrone said.

Along with delaying the Keystone Exam's graduation requirement, the law also requires the Department of Education to look into other ways of achieving proficiency on the exam.

"We have to do our due diligence regardless of what they are going to do at the state level. Let's get our kids ready for the real world, regardless if the Keystones count for graduation or not," Petrone said.

The graduation requirement is delayed until the 2018-2019 school year.