By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News
DANVILLE — Keystone exam results for Danville’s school district are among the highest in the region, according to Superintendent Cheryl Latorre.
“I know we did extremely well as compared to the other districts,” she said.
The district’s scores for the spring 2013 Keystone had 79 percent of students scoring proficiency or higher in algebra I, 77 percent of students scoring proficiency or higher in biology and 77.4 percent of students scoring proficiency or higher in literature, according to statistics provided by curriculum director Dawn Brookhart.
Across the state, the results were 39.7 percent scoring proficiency or higher in algebra I, 39.7 percent proficiency or higher in biology and 54.9 percent at proficiency or higher in literature.
“We were pleased with the results we saw,” said Brookhart.
The Keystone Exams are designed to replace the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSA, test.
The 604 students who took the test were ninth-graders and 10-graders taking the exams for the first time as well as 69 11th-graders retaking the test after their first attempt in winter of 2012.
Results for the junior class this past winter were 79.7 percent of students placing proficient or higher in Algebra 1, 85.9 percent at proficient or higher in literature and 57.2 percent proficient or higher in biology.
Juniors who took the Keystones in the winter were required to do so by the state even if they had not taken the courses the exams were testing, Brookhart said. The state needed the data from the junior class’s Keystone exams to act as an assessment of the district’s performance.
The state’s requirement came as a surprise to the district, according to Brookhart, who said the junior class ended up being caught in the middle of the curriculum transition from the PSSA tests to the Keystones.
The ninth and 10th-graders who took the Keystones in the spring had already taken the courses tested by the exams, Brookhart said.
That they scored as well as they did after studying the related courses shows the district’s curriculum has a strong alignment with the testing materials, she said.
Starting with the class of 2017, completion of the Keystone Exams with a result of proficient or higher will be a graduation requirement.