INDIANAPOLIS — Changes to U.S. law may mean thousands of high school diplomas in Indiana won’t be counted toward national graduation rate reports.

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to report graduation rates in a uniform manner, the Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/2tztFGs ) reported. The act sets rules for how states hold schools accountable and measure their progress.

The rule change means the General Diploma, one of the three diplomas offered in Indiana, won’t be counted in federal reports. The diploma doesn’t qualify students for acceptance into Indiana’s public colleges and universities, but more than 8,600 students from 450 high schools earned one in 2016.

“Indiana has traditionally used its state rate for accountability purposes,” said Adam Baker, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Education. “Therefore, we will see a drop in scores for the graduation rate indicator when we shift from the state rate to the federal rate.”

The change in the federal reporting standard means lower graduation rates, which can affect high schools’ state letter grades. Poor grades can lead to state intervention at public schools or non-renewal for charter schools.

The state department of education is seeking clarification from the U.S. Department of Education about which graduating class will be affected first. Schools could see the impact as soon as 2018, when the 2017-2018 accountability grades are issued based off of the graduation rate from the 2016-2017 school year.

The two other diplomas Indiana high schools offer, the Core 40 and the Honors Diploma, will still be counted under the change.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com