Indiana leaders continue to gather feedback from stakeholders to make the proposed new high school diploma requirements as flexible, relevant and rigorous as possible for Indiana students. The current proposal, originally presented in March and June, represents a first draft of what the future of high school could be; it will continue to be refined and updated over the next several months.

“High school is a time when we can support students in finding their purpose, knowing their value and understanding the possibilities for their life’s path,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “As the world around us changes rapidly, we have an incredible opportunity to create a high school experience that better connects students with their personal goals and aspirations of enrollment, employment or enlistment leading to service. I want to thank the many students, families, educators, colleges and universities, as well as industry and community leaders who continue to share their ideas on how we can best support students in achieving their unique goals and dreams.”

On Wednesday, the first draft of the diploma rule was published in the Indiana Register, which initiates the first of two statutorily-required public comment periods. Parents, community members and other stakeholders are invited to provide feedback via Jotform through Tuesday, July 30. In addition to the required one-month window, Indiana leaders have encouraged and listened to stakeholder feedback over the past three months to ensure the first draft rule best meets students’ needs. Comments on the first draft will close on Tuesday, July 30, to ensure all feedback is reviewed prior to the publication of the second draft.

In addition to the online Jotform option above, for anyone who prefers to share feedback in-person, Indiana Department of Education (IDOE)/State Board of Education (SBOE) staff will also hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 30, at 10 a.m. ET in the Indiana Government Center South, in conference rooms four and five. The purpose of this hearing is to provide any member of the public an opportunity to share solution-based ideas to inform future iterations of the diploma rule. All public comments, including those submitted via the Jotform above, those shared at the public hearing, as well as those previously shared with IDOE and SBOE will be recorded and provided to SBOE members as part of the rulemaking process. Anyone may attend the public hearing in person or view online.

As part of the proposed diploma requirements in the official rule, all students will complete a defined set of foundational courses and competencies, targeted in ninth and 10th grades. These foundational courses and competencies are strategically focused on essential knowledge and skills necessary for all students to succeed in college and careers. This structure allows for additional flexibility and personalization in 11th and 12th grades.

The rule also outlines individual readiness seals designed to support students’ post-graduation goals. Each readiness seal will have a defined set of course offerings and competencies. Earning a readiness seal will be designed to 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) and would be reflected on the student’s transcript.

A second, refined draft of the diploma rule will be shared later this summer, which will begin a second round of public comment. The final draft is anticipated to be 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, or students entering eighth grade this fall. 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, IDOE will provide the Indiana General Assembly with future accountability recommendations by December 1, 2024. 

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