Press Releases

Thursday, October 31, 2013 12:30 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will offer training on the Data Interaction/eMetric system for the Keystone Exams. The training will provide an overview of the Data Interaction system and include time for hands-on training to help participants effectively navigate the site and produce reports that will enable them to make data-informed decisions.

Superintendents, charter school CEOs and Intermediate Unit Directors Building principals Educators teaching Keystone Exam-related courses

Gain a better understanding of the Data Interaction system Learn the features and benefits of the system Navigate the eMetric site Identify the reports that meet LEA needs through hands-on training


Nov. 14, 2013, at PaTTAN Pittsburgh from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Nov. 18, 2013, at PaTTAN Harrisburg from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Nov. 20, 2013, at PaTTAN King of Prussia from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Nov. 21, 2013 at PaTTAN King of Prussia from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Use the following link to register for the trainings at all of the PaTTAN locations:

Nov. 25, 2013, from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18
Use the following link to register for this training through My Learning Plan:

Dec. 4, 2013, from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. at Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5
Use the following link to register for this training:

Dec. 5, 2013, from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. at Central Intermediate Unit 10
Use the following link to register for this training:


Please bring a laptop and an eMetric username and password.

Shazia Waters at 717.772.0020 or

Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:55 AM

A new analysis of how all U.S. states stack up against countries around the world shows that 8th grade students in 36 states outperformed the international average in math and those in 47 did so in science.

Click here for the full story.

Source: Education Week, Oct. 24, 2013.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 9:54 AM

Sen. Andrew Dinniman, R-Chester County, wants a law to compel the state Department of Education to be more forthcoming about the price tag attached to regulations it wants put in place. Frustrated over what he felt was reticence on the department's part about sharing the price tag for the Keystone Exams and the associated graduation testing requirement on the state and school districts prompted Dinniman to introduce legislation that won Senate Education Committee on Monday. The proposal would require a detailed fiscal analysis of proposed regulations to be shared throughout in the regulatory review process for regulations in the future. It wouldn't impact the ones associated with the Keystone Exams.

Click here for full article.

Source:, by Jan Murphy, October 21, 2013.

Monday, October 21, 2013 12:50 PM

It has come to the attention of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) that some LEAs are administering the Keystone Exams inappropriately. Please remember that the Keystone Exams are end-of-course exams and are to be administered at the end or near the completion of the Keystone Exam-related course. LEAs are not to administer the Keystone Exams prior to students taking the Keystone Exam-related course for practice or diagnostic purposes.

There are two exceptions noted in Chapter 4 allowing the administration of the Keystone Exam prior to the completion of the Keystone Exam-related course: 1) A student who has achieved an advanced performance level on the most recently administered PSSA for a specific subject; or 2) a student who has transferred from another state and has achieved a performance level comparable to advanced on an assessment comparable to the PSSA and has demonstrated mastery of the Keystone Exam content may take the Keystone Exam prior to the completion of the Keystone Exam-related course.

Additionally, two exceptions exist for students taking the Keystone Exam at a time other than at the end of a Keystone Exam-related course:  1) Students who completed a Keystone Exam-related course earlier, but are taking the exam to satisfy the requirements of participation for federal accountability; and 2) students who are retaking the exam would meet this exception rule. Note that in some instances, students retaking the Keystone Exam may be completing the Keystone Exam-related course due to repeating the course. Not all students who fail to perform at a proficient level will repeat the course. It is a local decision whether a student repeats the course, takes a remedial course or is provided supplemental instruction.

Questions regarding the appropriate administration of the Keystone Exams can be directed to the Department’s Bureau of Assessment and Accountability at 717-705-2343.

Monday, October 21, 2013 8:29 AM

The Senate during the week of September 29, 2013, adopted Senate Resolution 202 (Sen. Pat Vance, R-31), recognizing October 2013 as
“National Principals Month” in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 9:52 AM

State Rep. Mike Tobash, R-125, wants to extend the time period for development of the Keystone Exams.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has already implemented the standardized tests in algebra I, literature and biology and has developed and will soon field test Keystone Exams in English composition and in civics and government. Under current law, a total of 10 Keystone Exams must be in place no later than the 2020-21 school year. Through annual appropriation, tests will be added for algebra II, geometry, U.S. history, chemistry and world history.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Hazelton Standard Speaker, By Mark Gilger, Jr. (Staff Writer), October 15, 2013.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:17 AM

Remember to register today for the PA Principals Association Conference, October 27-29, 2013, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College! This year's conference, "Lessons In Leadership," features nationally known speakers, Dr. Todd Whitaker, Charlotte Danielson and Will Richardson. Go to to Register Now!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013 3:14 PM

By Matt Hess, PLS, October 8, 2013.

Department of Education Acting Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq held a conference call [this morning] with members of the media to give a progress report on the state’s new School Performance Profile website.

Sec. Dumaresq explained that the site has received more than 60,000 visits since it was launched last Friday and provided a demographic breakdown of visitors to the website:

                40 percent identified themselves as parents

                14 percent identified themselves as school administrators

                23 percent identified themselves as teachers.

                10 percent identified themselves as taxpayers

                One percent identified themselves as business leaders

                Two percent identified themselves media

                One percent identified themselves school board members

                One percent identified themselves students.

Sec. Dumaresq remarked that “a lot of traffic” on the site was generated through mobile devices. “It’s important to us because as we enhance the site, we want to make sure the view is accurate,” she stated.

Sec. Dumaresq explained that she is aware of the criticism from some school administrators and media who questioned why the department rolled out the website without complete data from every school district. “We did have deadlines with the US Department of Education for the waiver to identify the Priority and Focus schools in particular,” she stated. “As a condition of the waiver, we need to start to drive out that targeted assistance to our Priority and Focus schools this fall. That was one of the major reasons we decided to launch. The majority of school buildings and the vast majority of the data was already collected and verified.”

Turning to the issue of correcting Keystone Exam data, Sec. Dumaresq indicated that the department will include the data from 51 additional school buildings later today and all of the information will be “refreshed in December.”

Sec. Dumaresq then responded to questions from the media.

When will you be hiring Academic Recovery Liaisons?

We are in the process of procuring those folks now and we hope to have them operational by November.

Which schools will be getting those liaisons?

If you look at the Priority schools, they would be the school districts that will be receiving the Academic Recovery Liaisons. We want to place those liaisons regionally and that’s what we’re identifying now.

So one liaison is going to be working at multiple schools?


Who will be paying the liaisons’ salaries?

The state.

What information will you be releasing later today?

Three things will be coming out this afternoon. First will be a list by county, district, building, and score. Secondly will be a list of the Priority schools. Third will be 51 new building scores where superintendents asked to have their data released.

Can you define Priority schools?

Priority schools are defined as the lowest five percent of our Title I schools based on the aggregate math and reading proficiency for PSSA or Algebra I/Literature for Keystone Exams or a Title I school who is receiving School Improvement funds.

What responsibilities will Academic Recovery Liaisons will have at those schools?

Their role is really to work with the principals of the Priority schools to help them access the interventions they listed in their School Improvement Grants. They serve as an intermediary to make sure those principals are able to make contact with and get access to a variety available through our IUs and have the ability to work through our SAS portal to get the resources they need.

How many liaisons will you hire for the 92 Priority schools?

We’re looking right now at eight to ten folks.

What will be the cost?

That will vary based on how often they work because it’s not a one-size-fits-all intervention. What that person will be paid will vary based on the context they are working in and how many days they spend with each principal.

What’s the budget for this?

About $800,000 for the Academic Liaisons.

Is that state money?

That’s federal money.

Are you looking for the liaisons to have education experience?

Oh yes. We’re looking for folks for at least ten years administrative experience. These folks will also be supplemented with staff available through our Intermediate Units and the three centers across the state that specialize in interventions for special needs students.

Do you foresee an effort by the state to drive money to the Priority Schools?

The governor will be presenting his budget in the spring and I think you will see some efforts at targeted assistance.

Can you talk about those targeted efforts?

That’s for the governor to release. I’d love to share but you’re going to have to have some patience with me on that one.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 10:36 AM

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, educators and state officials agree Keystone Exams were the culprit in Friday’s incomplete online release of the Department of Education’s new school assessment system. Thousands of students, proctors and administrators statewide failed to check the correct box that would indicate whether a student took the test for course credit or to meet federal requirements. Click here to read the Pittsburgh Tribune Review article.

Source: PLS Eye Opener, Oct. 8, 2013.

Monday, October 7, 2013 9:49 AM

Acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq couldn’t offer sweeping observations about how well all Pennsylvania public schools are performing based on the state’s new report cards released on Friday.  Acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq is pleased with public schools' overall performance based on the report cards she's seen so far from the state's first annual School Performance Profile. She still hasn’t received building-level report cards for 626 of the state’s the 3,000 public schools – and won’t until December.  But of the ones she has seen, Dumaresq seemed pleased at how many district schools, charter schools and vo-tech schools earned a passing score in this first annual School Performance Profile.

Click here for more.

Source:, by Jan Murphy on October 04, 2013 at 7:04 PM.

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P.O. Box 39, 122 Valley Road, Summerdale, PA 17093 Phone: (717) 732-4999 Fax: (717) 732-4890