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What is Graduation Pathways?

For many high school seniors, the immediate goal is to graduate with a high school diploma. Educators, on the other hand, recognize the importance of giving students opportunities for real-world experiences. The challenge they face, is how to ensure that all students have this opportunity.  The new graduation requirements focus on that goal.

Prior to the passage of the graduation requirements, Indiana high school students could satisfy graduation requirements in one of four ways:  Pass the GQE (ISTEP+10), receive a waiver if they did not pass GQE (ISTEP+ 10), complete the graduation pathway requirements or unsuccessful completion of three different postsecondary-readiness competency requirements for graduation pathways, and receive the waiver.

The Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE), in consultation with the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and the Commission for Higher Education (CHE), developed graduation pathways to mandate certain additional graduation requirements be tracked.  According to the Indiana Department of Education website:

Students in the 2023 cohort and beyond must now satisfy all three of the following graduation requirements:

  1. Earn credits in one (1) of the following Indiana High School Diploma designation options:
  • Core 40
  • Academic Honors
  • Technical Honors 
  • General (Note: students must opt-out of the Core 40 Diploma designation upon parental request to earn the General designation – IC 20-32-4-7, 8, 9, 10)

NOTE: Each one of these designations has a specific number and type of credits required. 


  1. Learn and Demonstrate one of the following Employability Skills options:
  • Completion of project-based learning (PBL) experience OR
  • Completion of service-based learning (SBL) experience OR
  • Completion of work-based learning (WBL) experience 

 According to Ben Carter, Director of Workforce Development at the IDOE “Employability skills are a group of essential abilities that involve the development of a knowledge base, expertise level and mindset that is increasingly necessary for success in the modern workplace.” The IDOE and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development have developed a list of 18 employability skills that they believe are critical for student’s future success. For the complete list visit Indiana Workforce Development website.


  1. Demonstrate at least one of the following Postsecondary-Ready Competencies:
  • Honors designation: Fulfill all requirements of either the Academic or Technical Honors designation OR
  • ACT: Earn the college-ready benchmark scores OR
  • SAT: Earn the college-ready benchmark scores OR
  • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB): Earn at least a minimum Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score to qualify for placement into one of the branches of the US military OR
  • State- and Industry-recognized Credential or Certification OR
  • Federally-recognized Apprenticeship OR
  • Career-Technical Education Concentrator: Earn a C average or higher in at least six (6) high school credits in a career sequence OR
  • AP/International Baccalaureate/Dual Credit/Cambridge International courses or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams: Earn a C average or higher in at least three (3) courses OR
  • Locally Created Pathway

 Is your head spinning yet?  We understand the paperwork required to track the requirements can be overwhelming.  That is why SFS developed a comprehensive graduation pathway tracking tool. Our goal is to help counselors avoid becoming paper-pushers, so they are available to do the important work of guiding their students. To learn how SFS can help manage all of these requirements, please visit our website at  

 To see what other states are doing to ensure students graduate with experiences to help them compete in today’s global economy, visit

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