Indiana high school graduation rate rises despite pandemic

Despite the upheaval of the pandemic, nearly 88% of Indiana students from the class of 2020 graduated from high school, a slight uptick from the prior year, according to data released Friday by the Indiana Department of Education.

The state’s graduation rate has been stagnant for about a decade, with only minor fluctuations. In 2020, the four-year graduation rate rose by 0.5 percentage point from the prior year. Statewide, 213 public high schools had higher graduation rates and 177 had lower rates.

But the increase in graduation rates may not reflect how much students learned because the state relaxed requirements after schools were forced to finish the year remotely. The state waived graduation exams that are normally required, and it allowed students who were on track to graduate to earn diplomas. At the same time, many districts adopted more generous grading policies for the end of the semester.

While graduation rates are flawed, they are one of the few state data points showing how Indiana students fared during a tumultuous semester when state tests were canceled.

“This modest improvement in Indiana’s 2020 graduation rate is encouraging, especially as Hoosier students and educators have tackled unprecedented challenges throughout the pandemic,” said Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner in a statement. “As evidenced by data and research, we know a person’s educational attainment impacts their future quality of life, health, living wage employment and sustained earning.”

Other places have also reported improvements in graduation rates amid relaxed requirements, including New York City and Florida. In Colorado, where the graduation rate also rose, officials cautioned that graduation rates could dip in future years because the pandemic disrupted education.

In contrast, Tennessee saw its first drop in graduation rates since 2013.

Indiana public school four-year graduation rates

Don’t see a searchable table below? Click here.

Chalkbeat is a not-for-profit news site covering educational change in public schools.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.