Keystone Exams » Project Based Assessments (PBA)

Project Based Assessments (PBA)

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has developed a Project Based Assessment that is aligned with the modules for each Algebra I, Biology and Literature Keystone Exams for students who are unable to demonstrate

Proficiency on a Keystone Exam. Successful completion of a Project Based Assessment will satisfy the Chapter 4 Keystone Exam graduation requirements.

A student who is not yet Proficient on a Keystone Exam will be provided supplemental instruction consistent with the student’s educational program until the student can demonstrate Proficiency in the subject area via the Keystone Exam or the student begins a Project Based Assessment.

When a student begins a Project Based Assessment, s/he is assigned a Tutor, who is a District teacher who provides content area support as the student progresses through the project. The Project Based Assessments consist of tasks. When a project task is completed, the student submits the task to the Tutor electronically who determines if the student is ready to progress within the project.

Once the project is complete, the Tutor submits the project to PDE to be reviewed by a statewide review panel consisting of three independent evaluators. Evaluators are not provided any information identifying the student or school from which the project originated, nor are the evaluators identified to each other. Each evaluator assesses a project using a predefined set of evaluative criteria that is aligned to the Eligible Content. In order for a project to be considered satisfactory, all evaluative criteria are marked as satisfactory by at least two evaluators. If and only if all evaluative criteria are marked as satisfactory by at least two evaluators, then the project will be considered to be satisfactory.

Any project which is not deemed to be satisfactory will be returned to the Tutor and the student with appropriate feedback for resubmission.

A student or his/her parent(s) cannot opt out of the Project Based Assessment for religious reasons as allowable for Keystone Exams, as per the regulations in Chapter 4 of the Pennsylvania State Education Law.

More information on the Keystone Exams can be found in the PA Department of Education’s Standard Aligned System (SAS) at:

Access the Project Based Assessment website where students will complete their work. (Requires username and password; students must be on the District network for access to the full site.)