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The Indiana Department of Education recently presented a proposal to streamline the number of high school diplomas while maximizing flexibility for students to personalize learning pathways and experiences. This is part of the state’s ongoing, collaborative effort to rethink the high school experience, making it more learner-centric and career-relevant, and kicks off four months of public feedback to enhance the proposed plan. 

For the first time ever, Indiana’s diplomas would be aligned to the state’s current graduation pathways, as well as the five characteristics of an Indiana Graduate Prepared to Succeed (Indiana GPS), which include: academic mastery; career and postsecondary readiness (credentials and experiences); communication and collaboration; work ethic; and civic, financial and digital literacy. These represent the five characteristics that Hoosier stakeholders consistently agree are essential for graduates, and are part of Indiana’s Profile of a Graduate, which was established in 2021 after extensive public input.

In the proposal presented to the State Board of Education (SBOE) Indiana’s future diplomas would include the Indiana GPS Diploma (a more flexible, personalized version of the current Core 40 diploma), and the Indiana GPS Diploma Plus.

For all students, regardless of the diploma type they earn, learning in ninth and 10th grades would be strategically focused on essential knowledge and skills. This will be achieved through a set of foundational courses, aligned to the Indiana GPS characteristics, as well as opportunities for students to demonstrate competencies, both within the school and beyond. This structure allows for additional flexibility and personalization in 11th and 12th grades. 

In addition to the foundational courses and competencies for all students, students pursuing the proposed Indiana GPS Diploma must also complete a minimum of 20 additional points, earned through a combination of courses and experiences. Students will use the already statutorily required individual graduation plan, first completed in middle school, to determine initial course sequences.

After completing their foundational coursework and competencies, students pursuing the proposed Indiana GPS Diploma Plus must complete additional coursework necessary to earn their chosen credential of value, as well as complete a high-quality work-based learning experience.

The presentation was accompanied by formal approval by SBOE to initiate the rulemaking process. Before the Board’s final adoption of new diploma requirements, there will be two public comment periods as the proposal evolves. The first public comment period will officially open later this spring; however, the public may provide immediate feedback at any time via this Jotform, which asks for additional solution ideas, as well as tools and resources that would be most helpful in supporting implementation.

Indiana’s current graduation requirements will sunset on October 1st, 2028, making final requirements effective for all students beginning with the class of 2029 (Indiana’s current seventh graders). Schools may opt-in beginning with the completion of Board rule-making. Indiana will also continue to offer the federally-required alternate diploma, which is designed for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

To learn more about the proposed, streamlined diplomas, click here.

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