Student Assessment

Secondary Level Assessment 

Assessment is a system of measuring and recording student progress and achievement which then enables the student, parents/guardians and teachers to determine a student's attainment of the established academic standards to:

  • Learn the student's strengths and weaknesses

  • Plan an educational or vocational future for the student in areas of the greatest potential for success

  • Learn where remediation is required

Parent Request for Exclusion

In Accordance with Pennsylvania Code, Title 22, Chapter 4, Section 4.4, the Carlynton School District shall grant requests by parents or guardians to review the state assessments two (2) weeks prior to the administration of the tests and during regular district office hours. The assessment must be reviewed in the district administrative offices and an administrator must be present at all times. Prior to the review of the assessment, the parent or guardian must sign a Parent/Guardian Confidentiality Agreement to ensure that the confidentiality and security of the exams are maintained.

After the review of the exams, parents may request that their children be exempt from having to take the test based upon their religious beliefs. The Carlynton School District shall grant the parents/guardians the right to have their students excused from the state assessments.  This exemption may be granted if, upon inspection of the test materials, the assessment is determined to be in conflict with one’s religious beliefs. A conflict with one’s religious belief is the only basis for a parent or guardian to excuse his or her child from the statewide assessments. The parent/guardian must provide a written request that states the objection to the superintendent within twenty-four (24) hours of such review. The superintendent will review all requests for consideration for exemption. In the event that the exemption is granted and the student does not participate in the Keystone Exams, the student will be required to review their Graduation Pathway with their School Counselor as the Pathway 1 and Pathway 2 of the Commonwealth’s Graduation Requirements will no longer be an option.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to review the exam materials for the purpose of this exemption, please call Dr. Edward Mantich at 412-429-8400 Ext.  1130.

PSSA Exam Administration Dates are as follows:

        English/Language Arts   April22-26, 2024
  Mathematics April 29-May 3, 2024
  Science April 29-May 3, 2024

Each year, students in grades 3-8 are required by the PA Department of Education to take PSSA Exams in English/Language Arts and Mathematics. Additionally, students in grades 4 and 8 also participate in PSSA Science Exams. 

Parents who have questions regarding the PSSAs may contact Dr. Edward P. Mantich or your building principal.

Keystone Exam Preparation Materials for Students

The administration of the Keystones will be held:

   Winter 2023  December 4-15, 2023
   Spring 2024  May 13-24, 2024
  Summer 2024  July 29-August 2, 2024

Students in grades 8 through 11 will take part in the Keystone Exam.

  Algebra December 13, 2023
  Biology  December 12, 2023
  Literature December 11, 2023
  Make-Up Days December 14-15, 2023


The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to evaluate proficiency in academic content in Algebra I, Biology and Literature. All students will take the particular Keystone Exam in the grade they took the course. For example, if a student takes Algebra I in ninth grade, that is the year the will take the Algebra Keystone Exam. Beginning with the Class of 2023, students must demonstrate proficiency on the Algebra, Biology and Literature Keystone exams in order to fulfill the Keystone Proficiency Pathway graduation requirement. This is achieved by scoring Proficient or Advanced on the overall score of the individual exams.

Earning a satisfactory composite score (4452) on the Algebra, Biology and Literature exams (while achieving a score of proficiency on one of the three exams AND no less than a score of Basic on the remaining two exams) will satisfy the Keystone Composite Pathway. Students who do not demonstrate proficiency on a specific Keystone Exam pathway will be encouraged to complete supplemental instruction and retake the exam in order to qualify for graduation under Pathway 1 or 2.  Supplemental instruction will be consistent with the student's educational program. Students and parents will be informed of which exams they will be taking at the start of each school year.

Students can meet the statewide graduation requirements by:

  • Scoring proficient or advanced on each of the three Keystone Exams.
  • Earning a satisfactory combined score on the three Keystone Exams. The passing composite score is 4,452. A “proficient” score on any Keystone exam is 1,500. A student must score proficient on at least one of the three Keystone exams and no less than “basic” on the other two. 
  • Earning a locally established minimum grade in a Carlynton JSHS course associated with each Keystone Exam and satisfactorily completing one of the following: a) a minimum cut score on an alternative assessment (PSAT, SAT, ACT), b) advanced coursework (AP level or dual enrollment courses), (c) pre-apprenticeship, or (d) acceptance in a four-year nonprofit institution of higher education for college-level coursework.
  • Earning a locally established minimum grade in a Carlynton JSHS course that is associated with each Keystone Exam and pass the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) or the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) assessment in an approved Career and Technical Education concentration.
  • Earning a locally established minimum grade in a Carlynton JSHS course that is associated with each Keystone Exam and demonstrating readiness for postsecondary engagement through three pieces of evidence from the student’s career portfolio aligned to the student goals and career plan.

One piece of evidence must be from Tier 1:

  • Attainment of an established score on the ACT WorkKeys® Assessment (may be below the Gold Level)
  • Attainment of an established score on an SAT subject-specific test
  • Acceptance to an accredited nonprofit institution of higher education other than an accredited four-year nonprofit institution and evidence of the ability to enroll in college-level, credit-bearing coursework
  • Attainment of an industry-recognized credential
  • Attainment of an established score on an AP or IB exam
  • Successful completion of a concurrent enrollment course or any postsecondary course

Two pieces of evidence may be from Tier 2:

  • Any additional item from Tier 1
  • Satisfactory completion of service learning project pre-approved for use by a chief school administrator
  • Attainment of a proficient or advanced score on a Keystone Exam
  • A letter guaranteeing full-time employment
  • A certificate of successful completion of an internship, externship or cooperative education program
  • Satisfactory compliance with the NCAA core courses for college-bound athletes with a minimum 2.0 GPA or equivalence



What are the Keystone Exams?

The Keystone Exams are state-mandated end-of-course assessments in Algebra I, Biology and Literature. At the high school level, they are used to satisfy requirements set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).  Each Keystone Exam is divided into two parts called modules. Student scores are based on the total points earned from the two modules combines. The scores are then broken down into the following categories: Advanced, Proficient, Basic, and Below Basic. Students must score in the Advanced or Proficient range to show mastery of the content.

What impact do the Keystone Exams have on Carlynton JSHS?

Keystone Exams are used for three purposes: student graduation requirements, school accountability, and teacher accountability. The results of these exams are gathered and published annually as part of the Future Ready PA Index. Additionally, Keystone Exams are used towards the School Performance Profile (SPP) score, the ESSA report card, are incorporated into the evaluation of each teacher and principal and are used for local and national ratings.

When do students take the KEYSTONE EXAMS?



Algebra I

8th and 9th Grades


9th Grade


10th Grade

How many times can a student take a Keystone exam?

Students must take a Keystone exam at the end of each of the Keystone-assessed courses. (i.e., Students in biology will take the Biology Keystone Exam.) If a student does not score proficient after taking the Keystone exam during administration of the exam in the spring, they can retest the following school year.  If they do not score proficient after that exam, they can meet the statewide graduation requirement by completing one of the PA Graduation Requirement Pathways. Once a student scores advanced or proficient, he/she has met the graduation requirement and exam requirements are considered complete. 

If a student scores Proficient, can they retest to attempt to earn an Advanced score?

No, the Pennsylvania Department of Education does not allow for retests once a student has scored proficient.

My student scored Proficient or Advanced on the Algebra I Keystone Exam in middle school. Do they have to take it again in high school?

No, the Pennsylvania Department of Education does not allow for retests once a student has scored proficient.

Will my child receive accommodations on the Keystone exams?

Students with special needs will receive accommodations as outlined in their IEP, subject to any limitations the state has placed on a particular test.

Will my child be prepared to take the Keystone Exams?

Courses with Keystone Exams are designed to address the requirements of these tests. Carlynton JSHS utilizes Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDTs) to identify student strengths and needs and provide students opportunities to practice the types of questions they will see. Test prep and review materials are also provided to students to assist in studying for the exams.

Can my child opt out of the Keystone Exams?

Yes, as with PSSA tests, parents may review Keystone Exams per state regulations and opt out for religious reasons.  Students who opt out due to religious reasons are still required under state law to demonstrate proficiency on the Keystone content in each of the assessed areas. Students who opt out will have their non-participation reflected on their transcript.  PDE requires that schools list the highest level of proficiency level for each Keystone exam on a student’s transcript..

Is the school required to put the Keystone proficiency level on a student’s transcript?

Yes, per state law PDE requires schools to put the highest level of proficiency level for each Keystone exam on the student’s transcript.  Successful completion of a Project Based Assessment (PBA) counts as “Proficient” for the module in question.

What happens if my child has a concussion or other significant medical issue and cannot take a Keystone Exam during the testing window?

Students experiencing a significant and sudden medical condition preventing them from taking a Keystone Exam during the testing window must have a note from their doctor stating the reason for the temporary exemption, and start and end dates for the condition.  Any student who misses the testing period will make-up the missed Keystone Exams at the next available administration. Students who are unable to take a Keystone Exam due to a significant and sudden medical condition will also be unable to participate in extra-curricular activities during the testing window.

For more information regarding The Pennsylvania Department of Education Statewide High School Graduation Requirement Guidelines, visit:

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Biology Preparation and Review (click on link)
Algebra Keystone Algebra 1 Test Information
60 Points Total
Each module contains 30 possible points of the following question types:
- 18 points from multiple choice questions (1 point each)
- 12 points from 3 constructed response questions (4 pts each)


The Main Assessment Anchors (Approximately Ten Points for Each)

Module 1 1.1 Operations
1.2 Linear Equations and Systems
1.3 Linear Inequalities and Systems
Module 2

2.1 Functions and Patterns
2.2 Coordinate Geometry (Slope/Rate, Equations of Lines)
2.3 Probability and Data Analysis

Online Resources for the Keystone Algebra 1 Test
1. Keystone Algebra I Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content with Sample Questions and Glossary from PA Department of Education:
Link to PA Dept of Education Info

2. The Khan Academy is a free website that includes instruction and guided practice. To save progress and document your work for class credit, students must log on. Instead of creating an account, students may log in by linking their facebook accounts or google accounts.
The Khan Academy has many, many topics in algebra and other areas of mathematics, science, etc. The practice sections relevant to the Keystone Algebra 1 test in the Khan Academy LEARN center are organized below.
Each link contains interactive practice, hints, worked out solutions and links to video instruction if needed (The video links are on the lower right hand side of the page.)
After logging in, select an assessment area that needs improvement. Use the links on this page to select the practice. When moving to a new topic, return to this page to pick the next practice area.

Module 1

1.1 Operations
(Please no; width:15%te. Module 1.1 Operations contains the greatest number of topics to master but is not weighted more heavily than the other assessment areas. For this reason, it makes sense to focus on 1.1 AFTER remediating the other five assessment anchors first.)
Combining Like Terms
Exponent Rules
Exponent Rules Continued
Simplifying Expressions with Exponents
Multiplying Polynomials
Factoring Difference of Squares
Simplifying Radicals

1.2 Linear Equations and Systems
Writing Expressions

Systems of Equations with Elimination Part:1
Systems of Equations with Elimination
Systems of Equations with Substitution
Systems of Equations Word Problems

1.3 Linear Inequalities and Systems of Inequalities
Linear Inequalities
Graphs of Inequalities
Graphing Systems of Inequalities

Module 2

2.1 Functions and Patterns
Domain and Range
Finding Equations of Lines from Tables

2.2 Coordinate Geometry
Slope of a Line
Line Graph Intuition
Graphing Linear Equations
Slope Intercept Form
Converting between Slope Intercept and Standard Form
Point Slope Form

2.3 Probability and Data Analysis
Mean, Median_and_Mode

AP Testing Dates
AP US Govt. and Politics Test  May 6, 2024
AP English Lit and Composition Test  May 8, 2024
AP US History Test  May 10, 2024
AP Calculus Test  May 13, 2024 
AP Language and Composition Test  May 14, 2024
AP Biology Test  May16, 2024

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