Administrator reviews changes in state testing

Vice principal notes this school already meets new standards


Emma Kress

Mrs. Jen Shevlin instructs her E period English 9 class on Nov. 5. This year’s freshmen will be the first class to be required to meet the state’s new Graduation Pathways requirements.

Emma Kress, Reporter

Flunch died. The ISTEP will soon follow. 

Vice Principal for Academics Mr. Dennis Thomas said, “The ISTEP is an accountability test for students to receive their Indiana high school diploma. They’ve changed it, so this year’s current sophomores will be the last students who are required to take the ISTEP test.”

Instead of having the ISTEP test be a graduation requirement, the school, along with every other high school in Indiana,  is transitioning to a new system called Graduation Pathways. Thomas said that this system allows for different options for students to be able to show their competency. He said, “Our current sophomores, juniors and seniors are in kind of a twofold plan. They are phasing out the ISTEP and moving into graduation pathways.”

Thomas said, “We’re going to be focusing on college readiness, of course, being a college prep school. The pathways options and the new standard that the Department of Education is using more align with our mission than the ISTEP test.”

The graduation pathways checklist exists in three main steps, many of which already were required for graduation. Thomas said, “It starts off with hitting the graduation standard for your high school. Ours is the basic core 40 or honors diploma you would receive.” It also requires students to have completed all of their service hours. The third requirement can be achieved in several different ways. He said, “It really looks at college readiness with students can take an IB or AP course, three of those in their career at Cathedral or hit certain benchmarks on the SAT or ACT.”

The full Graduation Pathways plan will be in effect for current freshmen, meaning that they will not be required to take ISTEP. Thomas said, “Our seniors and juniors have already taken the ISTEP test, and our current sophomores will take that in the winter and spring. The new system will be fully committed to this year’s freshmen, so they will not have to take the ISTEP at all.”

Although they still have to take the test, current students do not have to be too worried about their ISTEP scores. The scores will still count for graduation, but there are alternative options for students who do not pass. Thomas said, “It’s like an all of the above count. If you don’t pass the ISTEP, you’re fine. You can take three college readiness courses or you can pass the SAT or ACT benchmark.”

Thomas said that he is excited for the change, as he believes that it is a positive step forward. He said, “There is a major focus on college and career readiness as a college prep school. You have a couple of different paths to prove that you hit the standards of high school.” This will allow students more opportunities to prove that they are ready for graduation and prepared for college.