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IPS Graduation Rates Steadily Improving Due to Increasing Emphasis on Academics, Teacher Support

Graduation rates throughout Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) have been steadily increasing over the last two years, thanks to a myriad of recent programs designed to improve academic rigor and support teachers.

IPS has achieved steady growth in our graduation rate while the state graduation rate has declined slightly over the past three years. In 2020, the percentage of IPS students graduating within four years was 74.8% as compared to the state average of 87.7%. In 2021, the district’s rate rose to 76% while the state’s dropped to 86.7%. In 2022, the IPS rate increased to 80% while the state average fell to 86.6%.

Rodney W. Smith, the district’s director of post-secondary planning, said the improvement is due to the district’s focusing on supporting students to stay on track toward graduation.

“Students are monitored through a steady cadence of reports shared with our schools, including freshman and sophomore on-track data along with predictive graduation data,” Smith said. “We are also ramping up rigor using the SAT Suite of Assessments coupled with students’ access to Khan Academy to support their academic and test preparedness. Students are engaging in SAT classroom prompts and SAT boot camps to bolster test scores.”  

The district is on path to meet one of the goals set by the IPS Board of School Commissioners, which says that by 2025, the percentage of students graduating within four years will increase from 74.83% to 87% as measured by Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) graduation requirements.

Other positive data for the district include:

  • Graduation rates above 80 percent for seven of district’s 10 high schools, including three of the four direct-managed high schools
  • Every subgroup achieved a higher graduation rate in 2022 than in 2021.

English language learners have a graduation rate higher than their statewide peers by a margin of over 5 percentage points.

  • Graduation rates for black, Hispanic, Asian students are higher or on par with their statewide peers.
  • A decline in the use of waivers, dropping from 4.9% in 2021 to 2.7% in 2022. For IPS’ four academy high schools, the waiver rate dropped to 0.91% overall.
  • Five of 10 high schools had 100% of students graduate without using a waiver.

According to Smith, the tireless efforts by classroom teachers are contributing to student success.

“IPS teachers work hard to deliver quality instruction and at the same time allow students to make up lost work and/or late work,” Smith said. “It is important for the student to show the learning. Students do not fall into the hopelessness of lost credits and continue to work towards completing coursework for graduation.”