Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Three Takeaways From Indiana's 2012 Graduation Numbers

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

At Penn High School in Mishawaka, nearly 97 percent of students who started high school in 2008 graduated in 2012.

The statewide graduation rate at Indiana high schools ticked upward again in 2012, state education officials announced this week, representing a jump of more than 10 percentage points over five years.

Of Indiana students who started 9th grade in 2008, 88.4 percent graduated in four years — up from around 87 percent in 2011 and around 77 percent in 2007.

We’ve posted graduation rates for every school in the state. Easily sort the numbers to look for trends or search for your school on our 2012 graduation rates page.

Three things to know about the numbers:

Dropouts: The statewide dropout rate was up by 0.5 percentage points, but overall, the number of students who dropped out in 2012 was still less than half of the number of students who dropped out in 2007.

What Kind of Diploma?: Indiana students can earn a General Diploma, a “Core 40” diploma, or a Core 40 diploma with either academic or technical honors. Students must meet a more rigorous set of criteria to earn a Core 40 diploma. Starting in 2011, Indiana law mandates all public colleges in the state use the Core 40 as its minimum admissions standard.

This year, though, the state’s numbers show nearly four in five students earned a Core 40 diploma — also a five-year high. Three in 10 students earned Core 40 diplomas with honors.

Waivers: The numbers don’t tell us much about how many students earned the diplomas without passing the state’s required high school graduation exam. These students must earn graduation waivers, proving through alternate means they have mastered either career readiness skills or the required math and English skills, if they wish to receive a high school diploma.

Indiana House Education Committee Chair Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, says he wants to make it more difficult to fulfill the waiver requirements. He thinks some schools are over-using the waiver process. He told StateImpact:

The issue of waivers is something that is very disconcerting. As we looked at Core 40, when we adopted it several years ago and allowed for the waiver diploma, we never anticipated having the large number of waivers being issued. Other states have similar programs to us, Ohio being one. Their waiver rates average somewhere in the neighborhood of four or five percent. Ours are eight-plus…

We’re giving these students a diploma and sending them on to the next step in life not prepared to meet the needs that have been determined to be necessary. I do believe it’s a problem and that’s why we want to go after the waivers and do a little more strict control over how those waivers move forward in the future.

Find your school’s 2012 graduation rate here.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »