Local Schools Looking to Implement Graduation Pathways for Students Struggling to Pass ISTEP


Local school administrators are looking toward the state’s new Graduation Pathways as a way to help current students struggling to pass the ISTEP. Knox High School Principal Dr. Elizabeth Ratliff told the school board last week that the initiative provides more options to students planning careers in various skilled trades.

“They will be able to roll to a Graduation Pathway, and we’ve got a group of the seniors that will not have to take the ISTEP again,” she said. “That’s a group that’s not really a super-good fit for the ISTEP.” While Graduation Pathways won’t become mandatory until the Class of 2023, the state is letting schools implement the program now for individual students.

At Oregon-Davis High School, Principal Chris Matthys says he and the school’s guidance counselor are reviewing students’ records, to determine who might be a good fit. The Graduation Pathways require that students be able to demonstrate employability skills and complete at least one “postsecondary-ready” competency.

Matthys told the Oregon-Davis School Board last week that there are a range of options for fulfilling the employability requirement, including having a job, taking certain vocational classes, or even playing a varsity sport. He said many of his students who meet those requirements have also passed the SAT, ACT, or completed one of the other “postsecondary-ready competencies” specified by the state.

Matthys said the goal is to get students out of having to pass the ISTEP and into career and technical education training that’s more relevant for their career goals. Ratliff said that appears to be becoming a priority at the state level. “There’s this new push of, ‘How are we getting those skilled trades that are actually making very good money, and getting those kids into those programs?'” she said.

Ratliff said the topic was covered extensively during the Indiana Association of School Principals’ recent fall conference.