State Board of Education Chairman Joseph Torsella has reaffirmed his intent to work with state legislators on a graduation exam proposal by sending a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House education committees.

"I believe that members of the General Assembly have offered and continue to offer important input, and the willingness of the education committee chairs to find a workable plan has been especially encouraging. I also believe that there are significant elements of common ground among the various proposals that have been put forward in recent months, and that a solution of which we can all be proud is both possible and necessary for our graduates," he wrote in the letter dated last week and released today.

He pledged to work toward "identifying a common ground solution in upcoming days" and to transmit for review to the education committee leaders a proposal he would expect the state board to take up "later this year."

The Rendell administration's proposal to require high school students to pass six end-of-course exams -- called Keystone Exams -- to graduate has been controversial. Legislators were particularly upset when the state Department of Education signed a contract to develop the exams while the state Board of Education was under a moratorium ordered by the Legislature not to take further action on the tests.