Pathways to Graduation

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has introduced statewide Pathways to Graduation — expanded high school graduation requirements that are currently planned to go into effect beginning this 2022-2023 school year.

This means that in addition to the 23.5 credits and service learning project previously required to graduate, high school students graduating from a Pennsylvania high school starting this school year must meet additional requirements through one of five pathways designed to illustrate their college, career and community readiness.

Each of the five pathways offers a different combination of options that can serve to fulfill the additional graduation requirements.

Pathways

  • Score proficient or advanced on each Keystone Exam – Algebra I, Literature, and Biology.

Remember: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses

  • a student must have taken all three Keystone Exams, earning a score of proficient or advanced on at least one Keystone,

AND

  • score basic on the remaining Keystones AND receive a minimum composite score of 4452 among all three subjects.

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses

To qualify for the Pathway III the student must be a CTE Concentrator

  • Pass at least 50% of a CTE program in which they are enrolled

AND do at least one of the following:

  • Earn an aligned industry certification
  • Demonstrate high likelihood of success on industry based competency assessment (NOCTI or NIMS)
  • Take the NOCTI pretest or final exam for those programs without a NOCTI option.

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses 

AND 

Earn a passing grade in content area where student did not score proficient on Keystone exam

Do ONE of the following:

  • Attain an established score on an alternate assessment for each subject where the student did not score proficiency AP(3), IB(4), ACT(21), PSAT(970), SAT (1010), WorkKeys(Gold), ASVAB (31)
  • Successfully complete a concurrent course (dual-enrollment) for each Keystone a student did not score proficient
  • Successfully complete an approved pre-apprenticeship program
  • Be accepted into an accredited 4-year non-profit institution of higher education and have evidence of the ability to enroll in college-level coursework

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses 

AND

Earn a passing grade in content area where student did not score proficient on Keystone exam

At least one of the following:

  • Alternative assessment WorkKeys(Silver)*, AP(3), IB(3)*
  • Acceptance into an accredited other-than- 4-year non-profit institution of higher education and have evidence of the ability to enroll in college-level coursework*
  • Successful completion of a concurrent dual-enrollment
  • Successful completion of a postsecondary course*
  • Attainment of an Industry-recognized Credentials (Non-CTE students)*

Up to two of the following:

  • Attainment of Proficient or Advanced on more than one Keystone Exam
  • Service Learning project completion
  • Letter guaranteeing full time employment or military enlistment
  • Internship or Cooperative Education Program
  • Compliance with NCAA’s course for college-bound student athletes

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses

AND 

Earn a passing grade in content area where student did not score proficient on Keystone exam

*These pieces of evidence are differ from other pathways

Resources

Step-by-Step Guide to Accessing Student Graduation Status (Student) – VIDEO SHQIP | عربي | 汉语 | English | Français | ខ្មែរ  | Português | Pусский | Español | Việt

Step-by-Step Guide to Accessing Student Graduation Status (Families) – VIDEO SHQIP | عربي | 汉语 | English | Français | ខ្មែរ  | Português | Pусский | Español | Việt

Frequently Asked Questions

Why now?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), students are required to meet one of the following pathways in order to receive a diploma in the state of Pennsylvania. Prior to the 2022-23 school year, PDE has been adjusting and planning to implement the student graduation requirements. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed implementation until now.

It’s also important to note that there are efforts underway across the state to explore delaying the implementation of the additional graduation requirements until after the current school year. These efforts may not result in a change in timing. However, we will continue to work with urgency to ensure all students have access to supports necessary for a successful graduation.

Who needs to meet the PA state graduation requirements?

All high school students in the state of Pennsylvania, including those planning to graduate from the School District of Philadelphia.

When will these graduation requirements take effect?

These requirements will apply to the Class of 2023 and every year after. However it is important to note that there are efforts underway across the state to explore delaying the implementation of the additional graduation requirements until after the current school year. These efforts may not result in a change in timing. However, we will continue to work with urgency to ensure all students have access to supports necessary for a successful graduation.

How and when will students be informed if they are or are not meeting the graduation requirements?

By the end of October, high schools will send letters to each sophomore, junior and senior (and their families) that explain the following:

  • credits attained to date;
  • the status of their service learning project;
  • which pathway represents the best opportunity to graduate on time;
    and
  • what else may be needed to successfully meet the expanded graduation requirements.

This could include tutoring, credit recovery programs, internships and work-based experiences within the school-year and during the summer.
Starting October 10, 2022, students and parents/guardians will be able to monitor their progress towards meeting the graduation pathways through their student and parental portals respectively, on an ongoing basis. Graduation readiness updates will be provided throughout the year via quarterly report cards and parent-teacher conferences.

How can students & families track graduation requirements?

Starting October 10, 2022, students and parents/guardians will be able to monitor their progress towards meeting the graduation pathways through their student and parental portals respectively, on an ongoing basis. Graduation readiness updates will be provided throughout the year via quarterly report cards and parent-teacher conferences.

How can families and the public access school-level data related to all five graduation pathways?

Families will have access to their student’s information beginning the week of October 10th, 2022. The Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) will host parent information sessions Fall 2022.

What else should families do to prepare?

Families and students are highly encouraged to attend parent/family-teacher conferences to discuss plans with your child’s teachers and counselors, and contact your child’s school directly with questions.

If tutoring, credit recovery programs or other supports within the school year and during the summer are suggested as part of your child’s graduation plan, please work with your child’s school to ensure your child is enrolled/registered for these programs and supports as needed.

When should students start to think about preparing to meet graduation requirements through alternative pathways?

Students and families should start thinking about and understanding graduation requirements as they are applying to high-schools, and have an early plan for their pathway to graduation upon entering high school as freshmen. This way, students will also understand their pathway options after all three Keystones have been completed.

In addition, students and their families should also review the requirements and progress towards pathways at regular intervals throughout the student’s high school career.

What resources are in place to ensure students have the supports they need to graduate?

Currently, the District offers a variety of centralized and school-level support for students, and we are constantly developing and implementing additional resources. Please make sure to check in with your child’s school, and return to this website often to stay up to date with available resources.

 

Where can I find work-based learning opportunities to help meet alternative pathway requirements?

Current partnerships and opportunities for  work-based learning, service learning, colleges/trade schools, and more are listed on the District’s Post-Secondary Readiness Opportunity Hub. This list will be updated as new partnerships are secured.

Is there a certain score a CTE student must achieve on the NOCTI exam to qualify for Pathway 3?

CTE students must be a CTE Concentrator (completed 50% of the program hours, for the program in which they are enrolled) and exhibit likelihood to pass the NOCTI pretest for programs with a NOCTI option.

Which exams qualify a student for the Alternative Assessment Pathway (Pathway 4)?

AP (3)
IB (4)
PSAT 970+
SAT (1010)
ACT (21)
ASVAB (31)
ACT WorkKey (Gold Level)

How long do students have to attempt the Keystone-specific pathways?

Students should review their scores after each Keystone Exam is taken.

After all three Keystone Exams (end of 10th grade) are taken a student should begin working towards the completion of a non-Keystone score pathway.

A student who scores Basic or Below Basic may request to retake the assessment over the course of their time in high school.

Do seniors need to have a score of proficient or advanced on all three Keystone Exams (Algebra I, Literature, and Biology) to graduate in 2023?

Students do not need to score proficient or advanced on all three Keystone Exams. If proficiency is not met for all Keystone Exams a student should explore Pathways 2-5.

  • To graduate via Pathways 2 students must score a Proficient or Advanced score on at least one Keystone exam and a composite score of 4452.
  • To graduate via Pathways 3,4, or 5 students must pass the Keystone tested subject and provide other pieces of evidence.

What if a student opts out of Keystone Testing?

The student will be ineligible for Pathways 1 and 2. The student would strive to graduate via pathways 3, 4, or 5.

Is a student permitted or required to retake a Keystone Exam after receiving a Basic or Below Basic score?

Students are not required to retake Keystones where they did not score Proficient or Advanced, however retakes are encouraged for students who would like to retest. Schools will provide students

with additional opportunities to retake Keystone Exams should they have a previous attempt that

resulted in a Basic or Below Basic score.

If a student earns proficient and/or advanced scores on all keystones, are they eligible to graduate?

Students that earn proficient and/or advanced scores on the Keystones have satisfied Pathway 1. However, the students must also ensure they meet District-specific graduation requirements as well – completion of a service learning project and completion of 23.5 subject-specific credits.

What are the District-specific graduation requirements?

In addition to meeting the requirements of one of the five PDE pathways, District students must:

Complete a Service Learning Project, and
Earn 23.5 subject-specific credits (plus applicable CTE credits if the student is enrolled in a CTE program):

Course Credits
English 4
Mathematics 3
Science 3
Social Studies 3
African American History 1
World Language 2
Arts & Humanities 2
Health 0.5
Phys. Ed.

1
Electives *

4
Total 23.5

Whose responsibility is it to match students up with service learning, alternative assessments and internships?

When it comes to applying for and participating in service learning, internships and assessments, students are supported by counselors, teachers or other staff members in the school. Specific questions should be directed to those school-based staff members.

How does this affect students with disabilities or special needs?

If a student with a disability is unable to satisfy pathway requirements but satisfactorily completes a special education program, they will be granted a diploma under Title 22 §4.24.

Are graduation requirement waivers available for students?

The Pennsylvania State Board of Education (PSBE) is identifying circumstances for which pathway-specific graduation requirements may be waived for certain students in the graduating classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025. The District is working with PSBE to clarify these circumstances. Please know that waivers will likely only be applicable for a very limited number of students.

Family Information Sessions

  • Graduation Requirements | Wednesday, Oct. 19 | 12PM-1PM | Click here to register
  • Graduation Requirements | Wednesday, Oct. 19 | 5:30PM-6:30PM | Click here to register
  • Graduation Requirements (Family Academy Session) | Tuesday, Nov. 15 | VIDEO

Virtual Family Office Hours

Have questions about the new graduation requirements? Use the links below to join a zoom session.