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Indiana Department of Education hears update on new graduation requirements

The Indiana Department of Education says students are not graduating with the skills they need to be successful after high school. To better prepare students to pursue higher learning or enter the workforce after graduating, the IDOE is reimagining real-world experience in schools.

IDOE consultants shared updates at this week’s State Board of Education meeting on their research into work-based learning, credentials of value to students and employers and changes to the Indiana diploma system.

Insightful Education Solutions consultant Danielle Mezera said the current emphasis on the Core 40 diploma works for some students, but not all. She said it is important to encourage students to follow a path that lets them be successful and meets their interests and individual needs.

“As we think about the future of high school, it’s important for us to understand that we need to look at students, not as widgets, but as individuals who have characteristics and traits and interests that are not necessarily all the same,” she said.

Mezera added that more than 75 percent of Indiana’s high school graduates want to complete some form of higher learning. However, only a little more than half of graduates achieved additional certifications or degrees. She said helping students earn college credit or career credentials before graduating high school will increase the opportunities available to them.

“It’s not enough to allow for a student to simply earn a high school diploma,” she said. “It is more important to make sure they’ve got the skill sets and the readiness to move on past that, whether they go straight into postsecondary or they go straight into the workforce.”

READ MORE: IDOE announces plans to expand work-based learning, revisit high school diploma requirements

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To accomplish that goal, Mezera said schools must develop shared definitions for credentials of value and work-based learning, encourage partnerships in their communities and throughout the state, and focus on students’ strengths and futures.

Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner said the conversation about how to restructure students’ high school experiences will continue as the IDOE explores changes to state graduation requirements.

Kirsten is our education reporter. Contact her at kadair@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.

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Kirsten Adair