Not sure where to start, let Indiana’s Core 40 be your guide

By Jeff Kubaszyk

Every spring in Indiana, 9th grade students and their parents meet with guidance counselors to create an individual career and course plan. In this plan, they design a program of study for the student’s remaining high school years. This plan guides the student in achieving goals beyond high school by incorporating a curriculum called Core 40.

Core 40 is a suggested program of study that addresses the needs of Indiana high school students after graduation, regardless of their career field. Core 40 places emphasis on those areas considered most important in today’s work world such as reading, writing, speaking and listening, mathematics, reasoning skills, cooperative learning and technology.

In order to graduate from high school in Indiana, one requirement is that a student must earn at least 40 credits, with one credit equaling a passing semester course grade. Currently, of the 40 credits required, the state department of education mandates the areas in which a student must earn 22 of the 40. The remaining 16 credits are left up to the student’s discretion and that of the school corporation. This system creates a large inequity among the knowledge base and abilities of high school graduates.

However, following the Indiana Core 40 requirements, students can meet the minimum graduation standard of 40 credits, still take courses of personal interest, and obtain a more balanced education in terms of course work. It is important to note that Indiana high schools do have the right to require more than 40 credits to graduate, and many do.

Briefly, Indiana’s Core 40 credit requirements consist of the following:

  • 8 credits in language arts courses
  • 6-8 credits in math courses
  • 6 credits in social studies courses
  • 6 credits in science courses
  • 8 credits in any of these area(s) art, technology, foreign language, career development, language arts, math, social studies and/or science
  • 2-4 credits in any course offered
  • 2 credits in physical education and health.

It is hoped that Indiana’s Core 40 will eventually become the minimum standard for all high schools, creating an across the board standard that will better prepare all Indiana high school graduates for the future. However, until it does, the responsibility for successfully preparing high school graduates will fall on the parents, educators and most importantly the graduates themselves.