GLSD Keystones Astonish Many

GLSD Keystones Astonish Many


GLSD astonishes many for being recognized with high rankings on performance from studies of AP tests and Keystone Scores. The Pittsburgh Business Times ranked our school 18th locally. They also ranked GLSD 56 out of 496 schools statewide. The U.S News and World Report ranked GLSD 57/687 statewide and 1,915 out of more than 21,000 schools earning GLSD a silver medal.

Juniors and sophomores “aced” according to the scores of the newly administered tests. Even though some juniors hadn’t studied the content that was tested in two years, many took the test very seriously, “I felt a sense of relief. I prepared well, I took them seriously. Nobody likes tests. If you prepare well the first time, you don’t have to take them again,” said Rachel Bauman, junior.

Senior high students actually haven’t taken standardized tests in two years, and were out of practice. “Students generally approach standardized tests differently,“I’ve never seen kind of test since, the PSSAs in 8th or 9th grade,” said Bauman. Yet, all of the departments helped students prepare and review through different exercises.

The English department worked to help juniors to prepare for the Keystones by practicing classroom diagnostic tools for the standardized tests. Students took the Scholastic Reading Aptitude and CDT tests to pinpoint weaknesses. English teachers reviewed the data and created exercises through Study Island for the areas that needed improvement. “The prep work for English was very structured. We practiced prefixes/suffixes, mugshots, and vocabulary,” said Bauman. All departments prepared students through a multitude of exercises.

“I felt well prepared for the math Keystones,” said Bauman. At the beginning of the year, some Algebra II teachers handed out  packets and students were assigned one or two pages a night. The packet was scored and if the student needed extra help he was required to go to the math lab during study halls seeking assistance from an Americorp tutor or math intern.

“Algebra days” on Fridays were added to help prepare for the tests. Some classes had problems of the day to review, and students were pulled from study halls to work in the math lab. “I am happy with the scores, but it is like the halftime of the game,” said Mains in between the two testing windows. Many students succeeded the first time around but some were retested in May to see if they improved. More than 400 students had to take the Biology Keystones for the first time after completing the Biology course or for the second time to get a proficient score.

Some juniors, like Bauman, who had to take the tests hadn’t taken biology since 9th grade, two years ago. “I couldn’t answer many of the questions. I could understand the general concepts (like ATP) but not the chemical makeup or the processes,” said Bauman. Rachel is taking AP chemistry this year, which is very different from biology.

Bauman was able to prepare on her own. Luckily Rachel kept her binder from 9th grade. “I didn’t study hard core, I generally just went over the broad topics because you can’t cram for sciences,” said Bauman. The science department created other aspects to prepare students also.

Mr. Dan Dougherty created a Moodle course to help review for the Biology Keystones. The course is named GLSDBIOREV. “The biology review site is where students can go, on Moodle, and be able to access a review packet that goes over the an outline of the general biology principles,” said Dougherty. Students were able to enroll, look over the concept summaries and take a practice test.

Students comment that taking the test after the course would be better, “If I took the test after the biology final in 9th grade, I would have done a lot better because the content was fresh in my mind,” said Bauman. In the future, the tests will be administered after students have completed the course.

“I think I will be happy with my scores, because I understood most of  test. If can understand the questions, I can generally work in out,” said Bauman. Bauman was surprised at how much she knew, and the scores reflected it.