Interim Study Committee of Education discusses graduation pathways, no requirement for ISTEP

Pranav Jothirajah

On Aug. 23, the Interim Study Committee of Education sat down at the Senate Chamber in Indiana to discuss issues related to counselor workload and a new way to attain a diploma, known as graduation pathways. This system will be implemented for current eighth graders. By utilizing pathways, students will no longer be required to pass ISTEP. The reason this system is being created is to lay groundwork for students after high school. Assistant Principal Valerie Piehl said she believes having graduation pathways will be helpful for students.

I think it’s great that we have more options and opportunities for students (and) that there are some ways that they can earn a diploma without ISTEP,” she said.

Many students said they agree with Piehl. Senior Ryan Foster said, “Having more options is great for us. For some of us, not having the pressure of passing ISTEP is good.”

However, some students said they feel the opposite way. Junior Aidan Puno said, “I think that having multiple ways to graduate is great, but it can also be confusing to some of us. (Students) might not know which path to choose.”

This new graduation pathways could not only make it more confusing for students and families, but it could also heavily increase the workload for counselors, something the state of Indiana is trying to reduce.

Piehl said, “I think the guidance department is going to have a higher workload. It’s a good thing for students to have more options and more ways of graduation, but it also adds a little (work in terms) of being able to explain all the different ways to students, to parents, to families, to understand all of the options and then tracking which students are doing which path and how they are going to earn their diploma.”