UPDATED, 3:56 p.m. EST: More Indiana students are meeting the state’s exit requirements before graduating high school, according to data the Department of Education released Wednesday.
Though the state’s overall graduation rate was virtually unchanged between 2012 and 2013, the non-waiver graduation rate increased about a point — up to 81.7 percent from 80.5 percent.
(Click here to find your school’s 2013 graduation rate.)
“While the overall graduation rate is largely the same as it was in 2012, when you dig into the data it becomes clear that more of our students are graduating without a waiver and passing their end of course assessments,” says state superintendent Glenda Ritz. “This is a crucial step in ensuring that our students graduate from high school both college- and career-ready.”
State lawmakers have expressed concern in recent years that too many students are receiving graduation waivers. That means they didn’t meet all of the requirements for graduation, such as passing statewide math and English language arts tests.
But University of Indianapolis researcher David Dresslar says those tests aren’t good indicators of success later in life because they only measure 10th grade English and Algebra I.
“You know, 80 percent would be pretty good 20 years ago. In fact, 70 percent would be pretty good 20 years,” says Dresslar, who directs the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning. “The problem is, it’s 2014. And without a high school diploma, you simply cannot expect any success in terms of a career.”
Dresslar says even though Indiana has made great strides in recent years to improve graduation rates, the 20 percent of students who leave school without diplomas are likely to struggle with poverty throughout their adult lives.