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School Accountability and Classifications

In 2018, Rhode Island updated its system of school accountability under the federal education lay, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The most significant change is that Rhode Island now assigns a Star Rating to every public school. Ranging from 1 to 5 stars, the Star Rating simplifies and summarized overall school performance, providing an easy-to-understand snapshot for parents and communities. 

“We have a collective responsibility, from my office to local governments, Superintendents to classroom teachers, to serve all students and hold ourselves accountable for outcomes. That shared responsibility is central to our ability to stay the course on a long-term strategy for improvement. Rhode Island’s new accountability system gives a more complete picture of how our schools are performing, providing valuable information about where we are making gains, and where we need to improve,” said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We also have a collective responsibility to make sure that families and communities can access and understand these performance data, empowering them to share their perspectives and have a seat at the policymaking table.”

NEW! Accountability 101 Webinar

Learn about Rhode Island’s updated system of school accountability under the federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This webinar details the measures used to evaluate school performance, how those measures are used to create School Star Ratings, and how this important data is presented to families.

NEW! How is My School Doing?

Download, print, and share this two-page primer on school accountability, Star Ratings, and School Report Cards. This overview gives a simple breakdown of every performance measure included in our system of school accountability.

2018 School Classifications

The 2018 school classifications and Star Ratings have been released. Every year, RIDE identifies schools as being in need of Comprehensive Support and Improvement, a federal designation for low-performing schools. Also known as “Comprehensive Schools, these schools receive additional support and oversight from the state, including access to School Improvement Grant funds and to a curated hub of resources, tools, and evidence-based strategies for improvement.

Download the data, or for more detailed information, please see the School & District Report Cards.


2017 School Classifications

Pre-ESSA, schools there were three categories for school classifications:

  • Commended Schools: Commended schools were the highest performing in the state. They were defined by a Composite Index Score (CIS) that was greater than or equal to 90.
  • Focus Schools:Substandard achievement in reading and math, unacceptable achievement gaps, and little or no academic progress in improving student achievement or increasing graduation rates. For 2017, no new schools were identified; currently classified schools had the opportunity to exit if criteria were met.
  • Priority Schools: The lowest achievement in reading and mathematics, intolerable gaps in student performance and demonstrate little or no progress in improving student outcomes. For 2017, no new schools were identified; currently classified schools had the opportunity to exit if criteria were met.

View the 2017 Accountability and Classification Dashboard or download the data

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