This is the fifteenth post in the series Reaching the Tipping Point: Insights on Advancing Competency Education in New England.
Rhode Island aspires to provide an educational system in which every student is enrolled in rigorous learning environments that meet their individual needs and through which students progress based upon their demonstrated mastery of essential, aligned, and agreed-upon rigorous academic and 21st century skills. Starting in early childhood, students have access to personalized learning experiences that are experiential, blended, flexible, and differentiated; as a result of these experiences, students will be able to control the pace, place, and content of their learning experience while meeting state and local Requirements.
– 2020 VISION FOR EDUCATION: RHODE ISLAND’S STRATEGIC PLAN FOR PK-12 & ADULT EDUCATION 2015-2020
Update: In February 2017 RIDE published Rhode Island’s Shared Understanding of Personalized Learning. You can find it at the new website eduvateRI
Rhode Island was the first state to establish a proficiency-based diploma. The initial policy establishing a Diploma System, passed in 2003 by the Board of Education, set up proficiency-based graduation requirements in six content areas: math, English language arts, social studies, science, technology, and the arts. In addition, performance-based assessments were included as a graduation requirement to ensure students could apply their skills at higher levels as part of the state graduation requirements. The state now offers four types of performance assessments – comprehensive course assessments, exhibitions, graduation portfolios, or the Certificate of Mastery awarded by the RI Skills Commission – of which districts must select two for their graduation requirements.
The Diploma System
Under the Diploma System , students earned a diploma based on meeting three sets of requirements: the successful completion of a minimum of twenty courses covering the six content areas and two performance-based assessments. Students were required to demonstrate proficiency in the standards in each course, with districts determining the level of proficiency for graduation. A system of enhanced diplomas was introduced in 2011 with a Commissioner’s Seal on their diploma for demonstration of bi-literacy.
Since the establishment of the Diploma System, the Board of Education has added secondary school requirements of practices they consider essential for creating an aligned system. These practices include: (more…)