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Keystone Exam Requirement Repealed For Certain Students

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- With House Speaker Mike Turzai beside him, Gov. Tom Wolf signed Turzai's bill to remove the Keystone high school examination requirement for graduation for thousands of technical ed students.

"We will no longer hold all of our students to a standard of the Keystone Examination that too often does not reflect the reality of a large sector of our students' experience," said Wolf before signing the bill.

"It's clear that, using the Keystone Exam, it's not that one size fits all graduation option," added Turzai.

This will help students who attend the public schools like the Parkway West Career and Technology Center, headed by Dr. Darby Copeland.

"We are extremely pleased. This really gives our students a leg up to really begin what comes next for the rest of their life," Copeland told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.

Under this new law, students who take career and technical courses will not have to take that Keystone Exam in order to graduate high school.

But that doesn't mean they avoid all testing at all.

"In addition to the Keystone, our students also had to pass the NOCTI exam. In reality, the career and technical students were being tested more than anybody," said Copeland.

But no more.

Students who spend part of their day learning trade and technology skills will fulfill the high school graduation requirement with the NOCTI or some other proficiency exam.

Without this change, says Copeland, school districts were denying skilled training to their students.

"We were finding that students were being pulled back to their home district to be remediated to pass the Keystone Exams," Copeland said.

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And this also recognizes real alternatives to college.

"We have far more college-educated individuals who are unemployed or underemployed compared to students who study in the trades who are often making six figure salaries."

A bill that would eliminate the Keystone Exam for all students in Pennsylvania cleared a legislative committee in Harrisburg earlier this week. It's now waiting for consideration in the General Assembly.

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