The Independent Regulatory Review Commission approved the final Chapter 4 regulation in English and math, including the Keystone Exams aligned to the standards.

The Independent Regulatory Review Commission passed today the Pennsylvania Core Standards in English and math, including the Keystone Exams aligned to those standards.

The revised Chapter 4 regulation, which passed by a 3-2 vote, makes important changes to the commonwealth’s current education standards and assessments.

Those changes include:

1. Replacing national Common Core State Standards with Pennsylvania Core Standards;

2. Reducing testing time by cutting the number of Keystone Exams from 10 to 5;

3. Guaranteeing that students who fail an exam are provided resources for remediation; and

4. Creating alternative pathways to graduation for those who fail an exam.

Team Pennsylvania Foundation became involved in the issue in 2008 to respond to the concerns of Pennsylvania business owners because students were not graduating from high school with the tools needed to succeed in life.

Statistics showed that approximately one-third of students who graduate from high school in the commonwealth – about 44,000 each year – fail to perform at a proficient level on the state’s 11th grade reading and math assessments, and nearly 30 percent of students entering Pennsylvania State System universities are not ready for credit-bearing coursework.

“Today’s vote is not only a victory for our children, but for parents, taxpayers and business owners,” Matt Zieger, President & CEO, Team PA, said. “The commission has looked to the future and has made a decision that will make a high school diploma more meaningful for our children.”

In a letter to the IRRC, Team PA highlighted why the Foundation supported passage of the final regulation.

“When high school students are allowed to graduate without the knowledge and skills necessary for success in higher education or the workplace, businesses, taxpayers, parents, students, and institutions of higher education are forced to waste significant amounts of money, time, and resources on remediation,” Zieger said. “Team PA believes that the adoption of strong, internationally-benchmarked standards and aligned exams will add significant value to Pennsylvania’s high school diploma and workforce.”

Team PA board member and Acting Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Foundation investors and other partners spoke in support or wrote letters to the commission at the meeting or in the days leading up to the final vote.

The Foundation extends a thank you to its investors who took the time to write their own letter favoring passage of the revised Chapter 4 regulation.