Editorial: Keystones shouldn’t be required

Unfortunately the Keystones are not an accurate measure of student’s abilities.

Image courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

Image courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

With Keystone Exams finally over, students reflect on the difficulty and annoyance of having to complete them.

As one of those students, I do not believe that such tests should be necessary. These tests show only skill in applying knowledge, not whether the knowledge is actually there. The questions introduce a scenario and ask students to apply what little knowledge they had time to be taught. Some people aren’t good at that, and as such, it is not a good judge of whether or not a teacher is successful in teaching them.

If there are any standardized tests, they should be based on the material, not introducing some ridiculous scenario.

Students also find it difficult, myself included, to sit in a room for two hours to take such a test. When testing, students may not even go to the bathroom by themselves, but rather must be accompanied by a teacher. We aren’t even trusted to find our own way to the bathroom! Concerns may arise about a student skipping out on the test if not accompanied, but it would be their own fault, and would only harm them.

While cell phones being collected is understandable, the rules dictating that someone taking the test needs to be followed to the bathroom by a teacher are ludicrous.

Tyrone has the highest test scores in the state. Clearly students can be trusted to leave the room for a few minutes.

I believe there is also too much on the test than the teachers have time to cover. There’s Photosynthesis, Cellular Respiration, Homeostasis, Cellular Transport, Ecology, Evolution… The list goes on and on.

Having firsthand experience, I find it difficult to believe that teachers will get blamed if their students don’t do well. I find it especially unbelievable that teachers are held accountable, when the truth is that students revolt a lot. Teenagers are teenagers, and paying attention to a subject that doesn’t interest them isn’t something that is likely to happen. More likely, these teenagers will doze off in class, or masterfully pretend to pay attention.

Therefore, Keystones are difficult and annoying, and should not be necessary.