Closing the Graduation Gap: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates in Indiana

November 2017

In 2015, Indiana had one of the highest high school graduation rates of any state in the nation at 87.1 percent, and the narrowest graduation gap – 4.5 percentage points – between low-income and non-low-income students. This landscape occurred in a state that was in the top five for closing the graduation gap between all and low-income students from 2011 to 2015 and in which well more than one-third of the cohort of students were low-income. Indiana also has a higher graduation rate than the national average for every student subgroup, except for Asian and Pacific Islander students. We wanted to understand what accounted for the progress in Indiana, what it might be able to teach the 34 other states that had low-income student populations of 50 percent or less, and what challenges remain for the Hoosier state. We also note that progress in closing graduation gaps in Indiana for some student populations has not been as strong, given that significant numbers of African American students, students with disabilities and English Language Learners are not graduating from high school.