The forthcoming Keystone Exams for public school districts across Pennsylvania will impact the incoming eighth graders as well as the current freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
In order to help prepare for these exams, Haverford High School is proposing changes to its course selection guide, specifically in the areas of Math, English and Science.
"Our thinking is...the best chance to students is to hopefully give them the best opportunity to pass these exams the first time they take them and to work on our programming," said Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Rotoli at a Board of Education meeting on Dec. 20th. "So that, if we can accomplish that – then it has much less of an impact on their high school planning on subsequent years."
Reminder: Students who enter ninth grade next year will be required to pass the Algebra I Keystone exam in order to graduate.
Proposed Change: Algebra I – the academic version of Algebra I will now be a full year course (the high school offers 9th Grade Honors Algebra and 9th Grade Academic Algebra).
Students who are not proficient on the Algebra Keystone exam: Student will then have to enroll in Keystone Algebra 1 – MA00070 their junior year.
Thoughts: "We've been offering year-long AP courses for quite some time at the high school and it's been very successful where you have a lot of opportunities to differentiate, to determine, the needs of the learners, the learning styles, and, really, target their strengths and weaknesses. So we think a year-long course will help provide teachers that opportunity in Algebra I," said Haverford High School Principal Jeffrey Nesbitt.
Reminder: Students who enter ninth grade next year will be required to pass the Literature Keystone exam in order to graduate. Current students in ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades took the Literature Keystone exams on Dec. 3.
Thoughts: "It was a very challenging exam," said Nesbitt. "We saw students take it extremely seriously. It was more challenging than the PSSAs that we've seen, based upon the number of students who needed extended time." Nesbitt said the district will receive their scores in March and students will be able to re-test in the spring.
Proposed Change: Students who are still not proficient in the Literature Keystone exam, a specific one credit, one semester English Literature Keystone course (Keystone English– EN00070) will be offered to those students. The course will be available for eleventh graders, starting next year. The course will mainly focus on improving reading and writing skills.
Reminder: Students who enter ninth grade next year will be required to pass the Biology Keystone exam in order to graduate.
Proposed Change: The high school anticipates offering a full-year (two-semester) Biology course for Academic-level students in the 2013-2014 school year. Biology will be offered in the tenth grade next year to all students as the second required science course with Chemistry to follow. Eighth Grade Science will expand instruction in Life Science with units on cell division and ecology, and Physical Science Chemistry concepts such as atomic structure and bonding. Ninth Grade Inquiry Into Physical Science (IPS) will integrate additional chemistry concepts.
Thoughts: "If you look at the available slots that our students have over four years to take enriching courses like advancing in foreign languages to taking additional math, taking additional sciences, or just the elective program in general, our hope is that if these courses are successful for the great majority of our students, then by the end of tenth grade they will have passed all three of the Keystones," said Rotoli.
View the attached PDF in the photo gallery for more information on the proposed changes for the Haverford High School course selection guide.