School Classifications

In 2012, a new statewide school accountability system was created. This new system is designed to recognize outstanding performance and to provide support to low-achieving schools.

“The new accountability system will enable us to give our schools the support they need to overcome challenges and to improve student achievement” - Governor Lincoln D. Chafee

The Goals of the System

The new accountability system enables RIDE to:

  • focus on achievement gaps;
  • diagnose school performance by identifying specific shortcomings and achievements at each school;
  • provide each school with the specific support or intervention needed to improve student achievement and to close achievement gaps; and
  • provide these schools with the ability to select interventions that respond to their context and their needs.

The Components of the System

RIDE bases its school classifications on:

  • Proficiency: How many students have attained proficiency or better?
  • Distinction: How many students have attained distinction?
  • Participation: How many students take the state assessments? 
  • Gap-closing: Is the school serving all students, including those with disabilities and English Learners? 
  • Progress: Is the school approaching its 2017 targets?
  • Growth (K-8): Are all students making progress?
  • Improvement (high schools): Is the school improving annually?
  • Graduation (high schools): Is the school reaching its graduation-rate goals? 

The Classifications

Using these measures, RIDE placed each school into one of six classifications: 

  1. Commended Schools
  2. Leading Schools
  3. Typical Schools
  4. Warning Schools
  5. Focus Schools
  6. Priority Schools

2013 School Classifications

The 2013 school classifications have been released. Please see the following 2013 Classification Summary [PDF, 535KB].

For more detailed information please see the School & District Report Cards.

More About the Classifications

The highest performing schools that represent the strongest patterns of performance across metrics, test at least 95% of their students, and serve all students well


  • A school cannot be commended if it is still regarded by the state as a school “In Need of Improvement”
  • An additional qualification applies to high schools.  A high school cannot be commended if it is within a school district with an “approval withheld” status regarding the acceptability of its High School Diploma System.

Defined by the following criteria:

  • Total points ≥ 77 and either:
  • Percent proficient points ≥ 24 or
  • Subgroup gap points ≥ 24

Strong achievement in reading and mathematics, small or no gaps in student performance, and/or are improving student achievement, and increasing graduation rates

Defined by the following criterion:
  • Total points ≥ 70 but < 77

Performance at or near the state average, sometimes with pockets of strength and/or challenges in one or more areas

Defined by the following criterion:
  • Total points ≥ 50 but < 70

A combination of low achievement in reading and math, unacceptable achievement gaps, and/or little or no progress in improving achievement or graduation rates


  • Warning Schools will implement a plan for improvement, but on a limited scale and without intensive RIDE oversight.

Defined by any of the following criteria:

  1. Total points < 50
  2. School wide participation rate < 95%
  3. Percent proficient points ≤ 10
  4. Subgroup gap points < 15
  5. Student growth points ≤ 7.5
  6. Sum of graduation rate and high school scaled score points ≤ 10
  7. Failure to attain any AMO for two consecutive years
  8. Failing graduation rate over time

Substandard achievement in reading and math, unacceptable achievement gaps, and little or no academic progress in improving student achievement or increasing graduation rates


  • The school, the district, and RIDE begin a two- to three-year intervention process similar to the process for Priority Schools though involving only seven strategies that respond to the diagnosis findings.
Defined by any of the following criteria:
  1. Subgroup gaps points < 12 
  2. Percent proficient points < 10
  3. School wide participation rate < 95% for two consecutive years

The lowest achievement in reading and mathematics, intolerable gaps in student performance and demonstrate little or no progress in improving student outcomes


Defined by any of the following criteria:
  1. Among the 8 schools with the lowest total points (i.e. < 37.8)
  2. A current Tier I PLA school that is receiving SIG funds
  3. School wide participation rate < 95% for three or more consecutive years


Rhode Island’s Request for ESEA Flexibility

The new state accountability system comes out of a request for “flexibility” regarding some of the provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA - also known as No Child Left Behind or NCLB).

Rhode Island's ESEA Flexibility Request [PDF, 2.2MB] was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in May, 2012.