By Mike DeNardo

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If a new study is any indication, Pennsylvania school districts could face some challenges when it comes to helping students pass new graduation requirements.

Starting with the class of 2017, Pennsylvania high school students will have to pass Keystone Exams in algebra, biology and literature to graduate. Those who fail after two tries will have to complete what’s called a project-based assessment. And a report by the group Research for Action found that on the first attempt only 52 percent scored proficient on Algebra, and 62 percent passed Literature. RFA Executive Director Kate Shaw says it’s not just a Philadelphia issue.

“Philadelphia was certainly a district in which the pass rate was not high,” she says. “But it’s really important to note that we had low pass rates all across the state.”

Shaw says administering those project-based assessments could put a significant burden on districts.

“It’s unclear how expensive that would be and what kind of burden that would place on school districts,” she says. “But I think it’s fair to say that at least in school districts that have low pass rates, the burden could be significant.”

Meantime, the state legislature is considering bills that would delay or eliminate the graduation requirement.