Throughout the week of Monday, May 23, students in Algebra I, Honors Algebra I, Biology 9 and 10, and all sophomores for Literature geared up to take the Keystone exams, combining with the first full finals week since 2019.
In cohorts with finals week, the Keystones are commencing uninterrupted by virtual or hybrid learning for the first time since 2019. The pressure and high tension these tests brought could be felt among those posed with the looming threat of taking them.
“It could be better. I don’t like them, [because] they are stressful. I feel like I was not taught enough this year. And we don’t get retries on them,” said freshman Harry Htun just mere days before taking his biology Keystone.
Leaving the building on Tuesday, May 24, freshman Reese Theobald could be heard saying, “I have Keystones tomorrow, oh my gosh I’m going to cry.”
The Keystones are a PA state graduation requirement. Students must have a cumulative score of at least 4,500, spread across the three exams, taking the biology, algebra, and literature exams, typically, before the start of their junior year. There are numerous alternative routes to graduation for students who score poorly on the exams, including the recently added ASVAB, but they do little to ease the anxiety surrounding the exams.
After taking Module 1 of her biology Keystone, freshman Lexie Mannion said, “I am more relieved after taking the Keystones because it is making me feel that we are closer to summer and freedom from school and stress.”