Brianna Bannach, Staff Writer

I’m sure everybody has heard the word “Keystones” a million times in this past school year, but let’s make it a million and one.

Keystones bring along with them good news and bad news. The good news is the eleventh grade PSSAs are gone! But the bad news is there are three required subject tests. All students must pass an Algebra 1, Biology, and 10th grade English Keystone. These tests each have two modules that take a block apiece.

Wait, test takers get an extended block! That means that during Keystones, the block that is being tested is extended the extra fifteen minutes taken from Titan Forum. Yes, that means no Titan Forum on Keystone days.

The first talk of Keystones was around 2011 when South administered an Algebra I test trial run for sophomores. The next year, when the current sophomores were in eighth grade taking Algebra 1, they were not given the Keystones.

Then the following year the state changed its mind and decided Keystone were mandatory for graduation; the students who took Algebra 1 in eighth grade had to take them in ninth grade after completing geometry. This made it harder for them to pass.

The Keystone is a requirement for graduation, but it is possible to retake. After someone fails twice, he or she has the option to do a project instead. The test scores are used to determine if our school has met Adequate Yearly Progress goals under federal No Child Left Behind guidelines, which the eleventh grade PSSA had done in the past.

The Keystones are basically the eleventh grade PSSAs in disguise, so next year if it is your turn to take them, get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, study, and bring your number two pencils!