Indiana looking to revise high-school diploma system, explore possible career/technical option

In response to a greater demand for high-school degrees that emphasize skills and include a more rigorous curriculum, Indiana high schools can expect to see a revised diploma system within the next few years.
In 2014, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation (HB 1213) to evaluate the state’s existing three-diploma system and explore a possible new graduation path for students, one focusing more on career and technical education. The Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana Board of Education will decide whether to approve the changes.
Any changes to state statute would then be voted on by the legislature during its 2016 session. The draft proposal, released this summer, would establish three new types of diplomas: Workforce Ready, College & Career Ready, and Indiana Honors.

Workforce Ready would replace the state’s existing “general” diploma option, while College & Career Ready and Indiana Honors would supplant the state’s Core 40 and Core 40 with Honors diplomas, respectively.

Students pursuing a Workforce Ready diploma would have to earn 40 academic credits and do at least one of the following: obtain an industry-recognized certification, complete a project-based capstone/work-based learning experience, or earn at least three college credits.
The other diploma options would increase the number of required credit hours, establish a more rigorous math program, and introduce two new mandatory courses: one on personal financial responsibility and another on college and career preparation.
The course on college and career readiness would have students evaluate themselves and their post-school options. It would also focus on the skills that students need to succeed after high school: learning to adapt, work independently and with others, manage time, and problem-solve.
By revising the three-diploma system, policymakers hope to better ensure that a high-school education aligns with the needs of students, postsecondary institutions and employers.
“We really did this because we thought the diplomas needed to be more rigorous and more relevant, and we also believe that they provide greater structure, while still providing flexibility to students as they prepare for the world of work or college,” said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s higher-education commissioner and a former state senator.
All states have standards for students to graduate from high school, and in a national study done in 2013 by the University of Illinois, researchers found that 17 U.S. states, including Indiana and Ohio, offer differentiated diplomas (with “advanced designations” or career/technical education options).


Stateline Midwest: July/August 20153.49 MB