Early feedback on a proposed plan to rethink high school is driving important discussions on continued solutions to improve the high school experience in Indiana. One proposed solution, which was shared today at the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting, allows Indiana students to earn readiness seals on their high school diploma and transcript. Students could earn an individual readiness seal or combination of readiness seals to support their unique post-graduation goals of enrollment, employment or enlistment leading to service. The readiness seals would be reflected on a student’s transcript to signify their preparedness for success in their unique path ahead.

“As I continue to travel across the state and listen to thousands of stakeholders, it is clear that we must keep improving the high school experience to ensure the four years are as valuable as possible in preparing students for their unique future path,” Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “As we have worked to consider additional solution ideas, one area of feedback that we have consistently heard is the importance of ensuring students have the opportunity to personalize their experience in alignment with their unique goals. The diploma readiness seals shared today are a direct reflection of that early feedback, ensuring flexibility, personalization and also rigor of coursework. We look forward to continuing to hear stakeholder feedback on the overall proposal in order to make it the best it can be for Indiana students.”

Indiana leaders continue to engage students, families, educators, as well as higher education and industry leaders to gather feedback on the diploma proposal, including the readiness seals. In the proposal presented to SBOE on Wednesday, Indiana leaders will work with external stakeholders to develop the following diploma readiness seals:

  • Enrollment-Ready Seal – Would be jointly developed with and approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, in conjunction with higher education institutions (must meet the minimum entrance requirements for the majority of Indiana’s colleges and universities)
  • Employment-Ready Seal – Would be developed in consultation with business representatives across multiple industries
  • Enlistment-Ready Seal – Would be developed in consultation with the Indiana National Guard

As part of the proposed diploma requirements first shared in March, all students will complete most foundational courses and competencies in ninth and 10th grades, which are strategically focused on essential knowledge and skills. This structure allows for additional flexibility and personalization in 11th and 12th grades. The readiness seals outlined above complement this additional flexibility in later grades, helping students to personalize their experience to achieve their unique goals.

Each readiness seal will have a more detailed framework that will guide the students’ coursework and experiences. Earning a readiness seal would immediately signal to any college or university, employer, or military representative that a student is strongly prepared to enter enrollment, employment or enlistment leading to service. Readiness seals could be added to either diploma (Indiana GPS or Indiana GPS Plus).

Indiana leaders encourage the public to continue providing feedback on the state’s overall proposed plan via this Jotform. The form allows stakeholders to provide additional solution-ideas, as well as suggestions for tools and resources that would be most helpful in supporting implementation. This ongoing feedback will continue to inform future iterations of the proposed plan, which will be shared later this summer/fall, prior to a final draft being adopted in late 2024.

Per statute, Indiana’s current graduation requirements will sunset October 1, 2028, making final requirements effective for all students beginning with the class of 2029. Schools may opt-in beginning with the 2025-2026 school year.

In order to lift every student to a better life through education, Indiana continues to make strategic investments and enact policies to rethink the four years of high school. Below are examples of this cross-agency work –  

  • Expanded opportunities for students to explore, engage, and experience a range of potential careers in elementary, middle, and high school through the 3E Grant. In total, $57 million was awarded to schools and community partners in all 92 counties to incentivize and support early exposure to career options;
  • Accelerated credential completion through Crossing the Finish Line, which provides high school students, who are just a few credits away from earning a credential, with free tuition, fees, books and other expenses. In 2023 alone, students earned nearly 2,000 total credentials, thus increasing their educational attainment;
  • Created a consortia of urban school districts across Indiana identified as future leaders in the Early College model and connected them to experienced mentor schools;
  • Supported schools in teaching and measuring key skills through the Employability Skills Grant, which awarded $10 million to 58 schools across 40 counties;
  • Increased college affordability and going rates for our state’s most at-risk students by auto-enrolling eligible students in the state’s 21st Century Scholars Program;
  • Helped more students gain both financial and digital literacy skills by requiring financial literacy and computer science courses for high school graduation. These courses may be taken in middle school, allowing additional course flexibility in high school;  
  • Implemented the first-in-the-nation Career Scholarship Account (CSA) program designed to support the completion of credentials of value and quality work-based learning experiences, including modern youth apprenticeships;
  • Streamlined K-12 Indiana Academic Standards in English/language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and computer science, reducing standards in each core subject area by 25% or more to ensure students are honing in on essential content; 
  • Re-envisioned how school and student performance is measured through the Indiana GPS performance dashboard. This dashboard provides students and stakeholders with learner-centered, future-focused data that displays how Indiana’s students are building the necessary knowledge and skills for success; and
  • Redesigning school accountability in alignment with Indiana GPS and the new diploma requirements. Per statute, the Indiana Department of Education will provide the Indiana General Assembly with future accountability recommendations by December 1, 2024. 

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