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 - UPDATED

Performance Assessments

Performance assessments (or Diploma Assessments) are one of the three requirements for demonstrating readiness for graduation.  Students are required to complete two Diploma Assessments chosen by the district or school (student portfolios, exhibitions 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 - NEW

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.

Compulsory Attendance Statute

RI law, effective on July 1, 2011, changed the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18 years of age. The RI Compulsory Attendance Law, RIGL 16-19-1, responds to the number of students who, despite district/school efforts to engage them and provide them with a variety of learning opportunities and supports, are at great risk of dropping out of school.  This statute allows a student, age 16 or older, who has an alternative learning plan to be waived from attending school.  One of the requirements for making this available to students is that the school must communicate with the student and parent/family to develop an alternative plan that includes learning and/or training opportunities that provides the student an opportunity earn a high school diploma, its equivalent, or another credential.  

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 student individual learning plan (ILP) is a communication and planning document that supports students in goal setting and reflection.  The ILP is used by advisers and school counselors to support students with appropriate interventions, learning opportunities and other activities to help them meet their personal / social, academic and career 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.

Progress Plan 

An individual progress plan must be provided for each student who received a level 1 (substantially below proficiency) on either the reading or mathematics NECAP assessment. The progress plan should detail the responsibilities of the school, expectations for the student, and include the parent in the communication of the plan for the student.  Schools must provide an opportunity for families/parents and student to meet and discuss the progress plan. School representatives, the student and parent/guardian must sign the plan indicating that they understand and support the planned interventions. See guidelines for details.

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.  


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 take the Rhode Island Alternate Assessment. The Rhode Island Alternate Assessment (RIAA) 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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