- Rhode Island has a well-written, solid plan that is clear, concise, and rooted in a shared statewide vision for P-20 education, which is made explicit throughout the plan by its inclusion of Pre-K and postsecondary education.
- The alignment of its vision with its long-term goals, summative ratings, and identification of schools needing support is strong.
- The state has selected robust indicators to include in a parent-friendly five-star rating system, with incentives to focus on student growth and achievement, and in subjects beyond English Language Arts (ELA) and math.
- The state has also designed indicators to broaden the scope of its ratings, such as chronic absence of students and teachers, out-of-school suspensions, and, at the high school level, student preparedness for college and careers.
- Rhode Island’s plan for supporting schools is also exemplary and offers many approaches other states could learn from. It features a state-curated hub of resources, tools, and information for all identified schools, coupled with comprehensive, robust strategies for schools facing the most significant challenges.
- The state’s requirements for dramatic turnaround in comprehensive support schools, including changes to school governance and design, in its School Redesign policy is another significant strength, as is its requirement for districts to establish Community Advisory Boards to formalize continuous and meaningful stakeholder engagement in the process. Rhode Island combines these strategies with an innovative approach to awarding school improvement funds, including three types of competitive grants.
- While Rhode Island’s description of its indicators is clear, as is the number of points that must be earned on each of the indicators to receive a particular star rating, the plan omits key details that tie the state’s indicators and ratings together.
- The plan fails to clarify how subgroup performance is factored into its indicators and overall rating system. The system is also fairly complicated, and Rhode Island does not fully explain how performance on each indicator is linked to the number of points schools earn for that indicator. Without this information, it is difficult to determine whether Rhode Island is setting rigorous expectations that are aligned with its goals and appropriately weighting indicators most associated with student success.
- Rhode Island’s shift to all new assessments should also be closely monitored, as it is quite possible its baseline data could change, particularly related to its long-term goals and indicators.
- Finally, Rhode Island should consider setting exit criteria for schools that will require sustained improvement from students on all of the measures that triggered identification in order to ensure that schools do not constantly cycle in and out of improvement.