High school students in the Warren County School District who hate taking the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, commonly known as the PSSA, won't have to anymore.
But don't get too excited.
The Keystone Exams are taking its place.
The new exams are designed "as end of course exams meant to assess student knowledge on a topic as they complete the course," according to Amanda Hetrick, the district's director of curriculum, instruction and learning.
The exams were developed by teachers throughout the state as part of a new system of high school graduation requirements, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
The tests will take effect this fall for students who have taken Algebra I, Biology and Literature. There are several testing windows in the 2012-2013 academic year, with the first from Dec. 3-14. The exams will also be offered from Jan. 9-23, May 13-29 and July 29-Aug. 2, according to PDE.
This year, all 11th grade students will take the three Keystone Exams in place of the PSSA. "Students in grade 11 are required to complete all three Keystone Exams during the 2012-2013 school year for AYP purposes," according to a PDE status update.
AYP, or Adequate Yearly Progress, is the annual achievement targets set by the federal education reform No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which sets the goal of 100 percent proficiency for students in mathematics and reading by 2014.
Students at the elementary and middle level will take the PSSA this year as in past years.
PDE offers two purposes to the new exams. The first is the "proposed state requirement that the class of 2017 and beyond demonstrate proficiency for the purpose of graduation." The other is tied to Adequate Yearly Progress and "Accountability as per No Child Left Behind," according to PDE presentation on the transition from the PSSA to the Keystone Exams.
The eighth grade class in 2012-2013 "is the first class that will be required to demonstrate proficiency on the Algebra I, Literature and Biology Keystone Exams to graduate," the report said.
While three exams will be implemented this year, seven more are on the way. Keystone Exams will be required for students who have taken Algebra II, Chemistry, English Composition, Geometry, U.S. History, World History and Civics and Government.
High school freshmen and sophomores who have taken any of the three Keystone Exam courses will also take the test this year, with their results banked until their junior year.