(WBRE/WYOU) — The Keystone Exam, the standardized test Pennsylvania uses to evaluate students’ proficiency in core subjects, has not been a requirement since 2015.
Yet, the state continues to pay millions of dollars every year to administer them. Now some leaders are calling for a change.
In a special report released Wednesday, auditor general Eugene DePasquale points out the Pennsylvania Department of Education is paying tens of millions of dollars every year to a Minnesota-based company to administer and score the Keystone Exams despite not being federally required since 2015.
“It’s been four years. And will cost taxpayers nearly 100 million by the end of the contract, for tests our students do not even need to take,” DePasquale said.
In his report, DePasquale recommends replacing the Keystone Exams with the SAT, a nationally recognized test that he says would save money.
“We could instead give the SAT to all students, and still save at least $1 million a year,” DePasquale said.
“In Pennsylvania, Keystone Exams are just one part of a broader system of education,” Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Matthew Stem said.
Stem says over the last three years, they have actually reduced the cost of standardized testing, including the Keystone Exams by 30 percent. And while they’re open to discussing a change, they say the Keystone Exam is the only one that meets the state’s current standards.
“If we were going to look at any other assessment, other than Keystone Exams, it would be important for us to engage stakeholders, and make sure that that assessment is aligned with Pennsylvania standards,” Stem said.