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Pennsylvania Exit Exams Clear Final Hurdle

The latest chapter in the brouhaha over Pennsylvania's high school end-of-course tests was written yesterday: they've been approved by a state regulatory panel. That pretty much means they're a done deal; all that's left is a technical review by the attorney general and publication in the state register, and neither is likely to be an obstacle.

After much debate and wringing of hands, the Keystone Exams will not be required for graduation, but will count for one-third of students' grades. Local districts waged an intense and successful battle to preserve some control in testing, so they will have the right to substitute their own tests for the Keystones (as long as they meet state muster), or to let students use AP or IB tests. The new testing regimen will be phased in over the next five years. (UPDATE: see the Philadelphia Inquirer's story about it, on our website.)

The Keystone Kerfuffle has been dragging on since 2008. The state legislature forced Gov. Edward Rendell to shelve their development for a while. Then state board chairman Joe Torsella brokered a compromise that led to final board approval.

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