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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-based Diploma 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 provided 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 enabled participating schools and educators to move their PBG work forward and deepen professional learning through collaboration and sharing of best practices. 

Individual Learning Plan

The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) 

has been a requirement for all Rhode Island students in grades 6-12 since 2005 when it was incorporated into the state’s Secondary School and Graduation Requirement Regulations. ILPs are a student-directed planning and monitoring tool that customizes learning opportunities throughout students' 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 postsecondary experiences. A meaningful ILP for all Rhode Island students:

  • Begins no later than entry into sixth grade and is maintained through 12th grade.
  • Is revisited at least twice each school year, and at key transition periods for students.
  • Helps students identify and meet their goals in three domains: academic, career and personal/ social.
  • Coordinates with other support plans as appropriate. For example, individualized education programs (IEPs), Section 504 plans, Personal Literacy Plans, etc.
To date, schools largely have not been able to implement this tool in a meaningful way, mostly because the ILP has not been prioritized for resource allocation and the state has not supported the implementation with professional development or training since its introduction. The PrepareRI state action plan for career readiness identified the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) as a central tenant of personalization and a tool that has the potential to be a meaningful and intentional facilitator and connector of career exploration and academic study throughout a student’s middle and high school experience. To make this a reality, RIDE has worked with stakeholders to develop new resources and tools, including a forthcoming menu of vendor that will help with implementation of revised ILP systems. 

ILp System and Curriculum Vendor Menu of Options

As a result of the Spring 2017 workgroup's recommendations,, RIDE issued a request for proposals for vendors that could provide comprehensive ILP system and curriculum. A review team, supported by a number of school and district staff serving as technical advisors, reviewed vendor proposals. This culminated in a menu of vendors that schools and/or districts can choose from as they implement or revise the ILP programs for their students.  The vendor menu and ILP Adoption Toolkit can be accessed on the School Counseling page

ILP Framework 

In Spring 2017, the Rhode Island Framework for Individual Learning Plans was updated to include additional information and supports for developing and implementing an ILP program at a school or district, including the primary components, stakeholder roles and additional information required for a successful program. The revised framework can be reviewed here. 

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. As a component of the Rhode Island Basic Education Program, "each LEA shall establish and maintain a Comprehensive School Counseling Guidance (CSC) Program, including guidance and counseling services, available to all students in grades K-12. More information and resources can be found on the School Counseling and Guidance page. 

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


    In July of 2011, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed revised compulsory attendance legislation, which requires youth to attend school until they are 18 years old.  The RI Compulsory Attendance Statute (RIGL §16-19-1) and the adoption of the Alternative Learning Plan is an effort to prevent students from dropping out of school and, subsequently, being placed in truancy court.  The statute encourages schools and families to work together so that students remain enrolled in school, via an Alternative Learning Plan, so that the student may continue to work toward earning a high school diploma or its equivalent.  

    The Compulsory Attendance statute mandates that students be in continuous enrollment until the age of 18. The RI Compulsory Attendance law allows for a superintendent or head of school to waive the attendance requirement for those students over age 16 who have an approved Alternative Learning Plan that supports their continued progress toward obtaining a RI diploma or its equivalent.

Student Certificates

certificate options for Students

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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