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Franklin Regional students fare better than state average in Keystone Exams

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

If the Keystone Exams are the future of standardized testing in Pennsylvania, the future looks bright for Franklin Regional.

The district received results this month from the first set of Keystone Exams, which were administered in December.

In all three subject areas, FR students tested higher than the state average.

• In literature, 90 percent of the 300 FR students who took the test met or exceeded state standards, compared to 66.8 percent of students statewide.

• In algebra, 71 percent of the 435 FR students met or exceeded state standards, compared to 54 percent of students statewide.

• In biology, 65 percent of the 304 FR students met or exceeded state standards, compared to 41.5 percent statewide.

The results were impressive, said Shelley Shaneyfelt, director of instruction and public relations.

“We are very proud of the efforts of our students and faculty to do their best on this exam,” Shaneyfelt said. “We are pleased that these initial results indicate that our students performed well above the state average, and we are particularly excited about the results on the literature exam.”

Beginning this year, the Keystone Exams will replace the 11th grade Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests. Students will take the three end-of-course exams developed and paid for by the state.

State officials have proposed requiring students to test at least “proficient” on the three exams beginning with the class of 2017.

While the FR scores are impressive, Shaneyfelt said, the district can do better. Students who don't test at least “proficient” on the exams must retake the test.

Students can take a Keystone Exam after compling the course it is linked to. Biology typically is taken in ninth grade — many of the students who took the Keystone Exam in December took the class one or two years ago. With algebra — the test that most worried officials, Shaneyfelt said — most of the students who took the exam had completed the course in eighth grade and were being tested as many as three years later.

The literature test is most closely aligned with the district's curriculum, Shaneyfelt said, as students took the test less than six months after completing the course. This year, testing was administered to juniors.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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