Proposed graduation requirements in Indiana raise concerns

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Some educators in Indiana have expressed concerns about proposed changes to the state’s high school graduation requirements that the Board of Education is expected to consider next week.

The proposal says students would have to complete coursework, demonstrate employable skills through service or work projects and show they are ready for post-secondary study through exams that include the SAT and ACT. It calls for the requirements to be in place before the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Principal of Goshen High School, Barry Younghans, said one of the biggest issues is the post-secondary requirement. He said the scores that students must achieve are currently set higher than necessary.

Younghans said he wouldn’t be surprised to see a significant drop in overall graduation rates in the future if the proposal is approved.

“We’re looking at a graduation rate of about 66 percent (under these new rules) compared to our current 88.3 or 88.1 percent graduation rate,” Younghans estimated.

Todd Bess, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Principals, said using tests as an accountability tool is a problem because many students are probably not proficient.

Bess favors using assessments because he said they align to Indiana’s academic standards.

“We’re making recommendations for accountability testing without truly understanding how it will be factored into the accountability system,” Bess said.

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