The Rhode Island Diploma System

Preparing all students for success in college, careers, and life

Rhode Island has implemented a statewide diploma system to ensure access for all middle and high school students to rigorous, high quality, personalized learning opportunities and pathways.

The Diploma System: 

  • Supports multiple viable pathways toward a high school diploma including career and technical education and blended or online learning.
  • Provides each student with individual learning plans and a personalized learning environment to help them succeed.
  • Provides multiple opportunities and measures for students to demonstrate proficiency and graduation readiness.
  • Promotes an aligned system of state and local policies.

Additional Information and Resources

Performance Assessments 

Performance Assessments

Performance assessments (or Diploma Assessments) are one of the requirements for demonstrating readiness for graduation.  Students are required to complete two Diploma Assessments chosen by the district or school (student portfolios, exhibitions, senior projects and/ or comprehensive course assessments).  

While two particular types of performance assessments are required for graduation purposes, performance assessments include common tasks, comprehensive end of course tasks, diploma assessments, and other “authentic” assessments. Performance assessments allow students to demonstrate, at a more comprehensive and increased cognitive level, the application of content learned through coursework.  Performance assessments are a regular part of curriculum, instruction and assessment practices. 

Scaling Up PBG 

Scaling Up PBG is a network of Rhode Island secondary schools that participate in a powerful professional development experience, working collaboratively to develop and implement quality common performance assessments as part of the state’s Proficiency-based Graduation Requirements policy (PBGR). Scaling Up PBG is a partnership between RIDE and the Center for Collaborative Education’s Quality Performance Assessment program.

Over the course of 18 months (June 2015-December 2016), Scaling Up PBG will provide professional development opportunities for:

  • Four Demonstration high schools with strong capacity in implementing PBGR (Blackstone Valley Prep High School, Cumberland High School, Mt. Hope High School, and The Greene School);
  • Twelve Practicing high schools to deepen their existing practices in implementing PBGR, including Block Island School, Burrillville High School, Central High School, Classical High School, Cranston High School West, Highlander, Hope High School, Juanita Sanchez Complex, Opportunity by Design @ Hope, Paul Cuffee Upper School, Providence Career & Technical Academy, and Sheila Nowell Leadership Academy); and
  • All RI public secondary schools that self-select targeted professional development opportunities to strengthen their PBG efforts.

Scaling Up PBG enables participating schools and educators to move their PBG work forward and deepen professional learning through collaboration and sharing of best practices. A collection of validated performance assessments will be made available to educators across Rhode Island at the completion of the Scaling Up PBG initiative.

Graduation Supports

Students must be provided with appropriate supports necessary for him or her to successfully meet the graduation requirements.  Supports may be district or school-wide, such as Response to Intervention (RtI), or individualized, such as the Individual Learning Plan or Progress Plan.

Students are supported by educators including advisers and school counselors to ensure access to a variety of learning opportunities and supports that help students meet their academic and career goals.

comprehensive school counseling

School counselors play a key role in supporting students in accessing pathways and learning opportunities that help students to meet their personal, social, academic and career goals. 

 Comprehensive School Counseling 

individual learning plan 

The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is a student directed planning and monitoring tool that customizes learning opportunities throughout the secondary school experience, broadens their perspectives, and supports attainment of goals. The ILP documents students’ interests, needs, supports, course selections (including access to college-level programming), transition placements, and other learning experiences both in- and out-of-school. This information produces a thoughtful program of study leading to proficiency for graduation and post-secondary experiences. As a working document, the ILP is at the center of a personalized education program. The ILP is more than a repository of information about a student; it is a dynamic student-driven tool that maps academic plans; reflects each student’s unique set of interests, needs, learning goals, and graduation requirements; and documents the supports needed to reach those learning goals.

Personal Literacy Plan

A Personal Literacy Plan (PLP) is a plan of action used to accelerate a student’s learning in order to move toward grade level reading proficiency. Students who have substantial reading difficulties (reading more than two years below grade level) should receive intensive literacy instruction from a reading specialist or other qualified educator. Students’ targeted interventions or intensive literacy instruction must be documented and include the development, implementation, and progress monitoring of a PLP, which can be within the ILP.

    Early Warning System

    An Early Warning System (EWS) uses indicators to identify students at risk of not graduating high school on time. School districts all over the country are utilizing early warning systems to enable data-informed decision-making to improve the success of students and schools. The RIDE Early Warning System tool includes a set of indicators that enables educators and school teams, using current student data, to identify and intervene with students at risk.  The EWS screens all students from grades 6 through 12.  The EWS can be accessed by educators through RIDEmap

    RI Seal of Biliteracy - NEW!

    Districts may choose to award a Seal of Biliteracy to graduating seniors who are able to demonstrate proficiency in English and one or more other world languages.  The language may be a student’s native language or a language learned in school or another setting. The Seal highlights individuals with multilingual and multicultural competence to potential employers and provides universities with a method of identifying and giving credit to applicants with high levels of proficiency. Seals are affixed to diplomas and are documented on student transcripts.  


    three requirements for receiving the seal of biliteracy: the first is completion of all English language arts requirements for graduation with an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or above in those classes, the second is passing the state summative assessment in English language arts administered in grade 11 at the 'proficient' level, and the third is proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English, demonstrated through valid test or completion of dual language secondary program with 2.5 or above GPA

    Sello de Alfabetización Bilingüe en Español [PDF, 58]

    Student Certificates

    certificate options for alternate assessment

    In partnership with other adult service agencies, RIDE developed stackable, portable and recognized certificates that all students may earn. The certificate options below were initially developed for students who qualify for the alternate assessment. The Alternate Assessment is the state assessment for a small number of students who cannot participate in large-scale assessments even with accommodations. However, many Rhode Island high schools are using the developed credentials to supplement high school diplomas. 

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