Keystone Exams - Standardized Testing

  • There are two main types of Standardized Testing at the high school: required and optional.


    KEYSTONES-- The Keystone Exam is administered in Literature, Algebra 1, and Biology. The tests occur in January and May and help to determine a student's level of achievement and are also a part of graduation requirements. Students who perform at the 'basic' or 'below basic' levels are required to participate in a remedial course and/or interventions and to re-take the test. 

    PASSA -- The Pennsylvania Alternate State School Assessment is administered to some special education students. It is given only to students who cannot complete the PSSA because of severe mental or physical disability.


    AP -- Several Advanced Placement tests and courses are offered at CV. AP courses culminate with an optional test, scored from 1 to 5, which may allow students to earn college credits and/or to advance their placement in college curriculum. Each college is different, and some schools accept only a score of 5 for college credit, while others will grant credit for a score of 4 or 3.

    PSAT -- The PSAT, or Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, is administered in October of each year. It is mainly taken by juniors, but can be taken by sophomores who have completed Geometry in their freshman year. The PSAT is  a predictor of SAT scores, and allows students to practice and to gauge their readiness for the SAT. As the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), the PSAT also avails students to some scholarship programs. Students may sign up for the PSAT in the guidance office during October.

    SAT I/Reasoning Test -- The SAT is offered 7 times per school year by the College Board. Typically, the SAT is administered at CV on 5 of the 7 national test dates; however, CV students must sign up for the test through the College Board, via mail or online. The school code for CV is 392-105, and timely registration is necessary to ensure a specific testing location.

    The SAT is approximately 3 1/2 hours and contains 3 sections: Reading, Math, and Writing. Test scores range from 200 to 800 on each section for a total score range of 600 to 2400; however, many colleges consider only the Reading and Math scores. If you re-take the SAT (you may take it as many times as you wish), many colleges will take the highest score on each section as your score. However, some colleges will consider only the best combined score from any one test date. To sign up for the SAT, students may pick up a mailer in the guidance office (we also have a free preparation book), but most students choose to register online at

    SAT II/Subject Area Tests -- Some colleges require students to take one or more of the Subject Area Tests offered by the College Board. College admissions personnel will alert prospective students to the need for taking SAT IIs. See for more information.

    ACT -- The ACT is a test similar to the SAT I, which aims to predict a student's future college success. Not as long as the SAT, the ACT contains test sections of Reading, Math, English, and Science. There is also an optional Writing (essay) section. The ACT is offered several times each year, but typically only once at CV (in April). Go to for more information.

    **Note: While the SAT and ACT are each more popular in particular areas of the country, colleges will accept either test for admission. The numerical scoring is very different between the two tests, but colleges have a conversion table to discern the equivalency of either score.