Rhode Island Department of Education Releases 2023 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) Results

Published on Wednesday, October 18, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI -- The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) today released the final results of the 2023 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS). The RICAS assessment, first conducted in 2018, was administered to students from grades 3 through 8 in March through May. Statewide data shows that in 2023 compared to 2022, there was an increase in participation in both content areas, a second year of significant growth in math proficiency with an approximate 2.7 percentage point increase this year, and an increase in English Language Arts (ELA) of approximately 2 percentage points. A presentation of the results is available here.

“The 2023 RICAS results show that Rhode Island schools continue to move in the right direction as we work to improve achievement and meet our 2030 goals with our Learn365RI initiative,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Our students can perform at high levels, and we must stay the course and make sure our school communities have the support and resources to thrive. I thank the teachers, school leaders, and families who have worked hard to ensure students recover academically and are on paths to success.”

“Through resiliency, partnership, and a commitment to excellence in learning, Rhode Island schools have made headway despite the immense challenges of the last few years,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “I commend state, city, town, and school leaders for their diligent work in supporting our school communities, so they continue on a pathway forward.” 

“The recent assessment results indicate that while much work remains, our students took an important step in the right direction,” said House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio. “Continuing to improve the quality of our education system remains a top priority for the House and Senate. For Rhode Island to succeed, we need to ensure that all students get a world-class education that prepares them to thrive in the classroom and beyond. The legislature is committed to working with our partners to make sure that our state education system continues to make progress.”  

In addition to RICAS, 2023 PSAT and SAT, Rhode Island Next Generation Science Assessment (NGSA), Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), and the Rhode Island Assessing Comprehension and Communications in English State-To-State for English Learners (ACCESS) assessment results can be viewed online on RIDE’s Assessment Data Portal.

“Rhode Island is committed to improving student outcomes and the latest RICAS results show that with our focus on accelerating learning statewide, we are on the right track,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “With a second consecutive year of significant growth in math and an increase in ELA proficiency, we’re seeing momentum as we approach pre-pandemic levels of achievement and participation. In line with the priorities and focus areas of the Learning, Equity & Accelerated Pathways (LEAP) Task Force and Governor McKee’s Learn365RI initiative, and in partnership with our school and community partners, we will continue to work to expand access to high-quality learning opportunities and bolster support for our school communities to continue our upward trajectory.”

For a second consecutive year, RIDE will offer families Personalized Individual Student Reports that include individualized, multilingual informational videos accessible through a QR code to help them better understand their students’ RICAS scores. The videos are available in 10 languages, provide insight for comparisons to school, district, and state performance, and may be factored by families for their education decision-making. Examples of the student report videos that families will be able to access and additional informational resources for assessments can be found on RIDE’s website.

"We are all committed to supporting our student’s academic success by offering support, encouragement, and fostering a love of learning beyond the classroom,” said Board of Education Chair Michael Grey. “We encourage Rhode Island families to access their personalized Individual Student Reports and continue their active engagement in their children’s education. This collaboration is essential as we continue to make meaningful strides in our education system statewide.”

“The 2023 RICAS results reflect the hard work, determination, and resiliency of our students and educators,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “As we applaud the progress made, we must continue to address achievement gaps, eliminate disparities, and provide our students with the tools and support they need to excel academically.”


The 2023 RICAS results show that student performance in math improved across Rhode Island, with yet another significant increase of nearly 2.7 percentage points compared to 2022, from 26.9% to 29.6%. 2023 math results indicate a nearly 10 percentage point increase from 20.1% in 2021, and just 0.2 percentage points away from the pre-pandemic results of 2019 of 29.8%. Most grade levels demonstrated higher performance in math in comparison to 2022 with grades 4, 5 and 6 proficiency levels now being the same as or higher than pre-pandemic scores. The most significant increases were seen in grades 4, 5, and 7. Grade 3, which consists of students who began their education during pandemic years, saw a decrease of 0.5 percentage points. Overall, while this year marked a second consecutive year of gains, nearly one third of students are proficient in math in grades 3 through 8.


For ELA, the results show that proficiency increased across the state by approximately 2 percentage points compared to 2022, from 31.1% to 33.1%. This rise places proficiency levels slightly below 33.2% in 2021, and while trending upward, still below the pre-pandemic level of 38.5% in 2019. The state generally saw positive trends in all grade levels with grades 4, 5 and 8 demonstrating the highest increases in performance in comparison to performance in 2022. Overall, nearly one third of students are proficient in ELA in grades 3 through 8.

State Comparisons

When comparing Rhode Island to Massachusetts, Rhode Island saw a more significant increase in scores for both content areas overall. Rhode Island proficiency in ELA increased by 2 percentage points and math by 2.7 percentage points compared to approximately 1 and 2 percentage points in Massachusetts, respectively. In Connecticut, 2023 assessment results showed a slight decline of approximately 0.3 percentage points in ELA and a slight increase of approximately 1.1 percentage points in math proficiency in their state assessment. While Rhode Island performance has historically lagged behind Massachusetts and Connecticut, the state’s growth trends are closing gaps. In 2018, there was a 17-percentage point gap in students meeting or exceeding ELA expectations and a 21-percentage point gap in math when comparing Rhode Island to Massachusetts. In 2023, the gaps have decreased to 9 percentage points in ELA and 11 percentage points in math. The State is committed to continuing to close the achievement gap.

“Our nation has worked hard to return to and exceed pre-pandemic levels of achievement, but we continue to face challenges created or exacerbated by COVID,” said Commissioner Infante-Green. “Rhode Island opened schools and quickly returned to full in-person learning because we knew it was critical for effective teaching and learning. The positive trends we are seeing are a result of unwavering dedication to academic excellence from teachers, administrators, and families despite the challenges.”

RIDE also released the results for PSAT, SAT, DLM, NGSA, and ACCESS assessments.


The SAT is administered in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics to all 11th-grade students, and the PSAT is administered in the same content areas to all 10th-grade students. The 2023 results show that compared to 2022, PSAT and SAT participation increased across the state. PSAT statewide results show proficiency decreased in 2023 in ELA by approximately 3.9 percentage points and 2 percentage points in math compared to 2022. With PSAT, overall, half of Rhode Island students meet expectations for high school ELA, however only just over 25% meet expectations in math. SAT results showed an approximate 2 percentage point increase in students who met or exceeded expectations in ELA, however there was no change for math. With SAT, overall, almost half of students meet expectations for high school ELA, but only just over 25% meet expectations in math.


NGSA is administered in grades 5, 8 and 11 and the recent results show a nearly 2-percentage point increase in participation from 2022, accounting for a 95% participation rate in 2023. NGSA proficiency scores indicate no significant change from 2022 with a 0.5 percentage point decrease in students meeting or exceeding expectations in 2023, from 30.9% to 30.4%. Overall, approximately 30% of students were proficient in NGSA. Science is an area where the State will place particular focus on.


The DLM assessments are designed for students with significant special education needs and are administered in grades 3 through 8 and 11 in ELA, math, and science. In 2023, participation in all content areas increased to 98%. The results show that achievement levels remain relatively unchanged. In ELA there was a decrease of 0.8 percentage points in the number of students “At Target or Advanced,” in math there was a decrease of 0.4 percentage points in students “At Target or Advanced,” and in science, there was an increase of 0.2 percentage points in students “At Target or Advanced.”


The ACCESS assessment is administered to multilingual learners (MLLs) to examine their English-language proficiency (ELP) on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest, in four language domains: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Students with a composite score of 4.8 or higher are considered ready to exit MLL services. ACCESS is developed by the WIDA Consortium, which provides standardized MLL assessments to 41 states and territories. Overall, ACCESS participation increased by 0.5 percentage points from 2022 and there was a 0.3 percentage point increase in the percentage of students at the “Expanding” and “Bridging” levels.

The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment released an analysis in 2022 that indicated that recovering to pre-pandemic levels of student achievement in Rhode Island would require three to five years of accelerated learning strategies. Through several efforts, Rhode Island continues its focus on accelerating learning statewide and improving outcomes in alignment with the LEAP Task Force report and recommendations and Governor McKee’s Learn365RI initiative. This includes:

  • Continued support for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 through the LEAP District Support Program which made nearly $20 million in matching funds available to help accelerate student learning.
  • Implementation of updated Readiness-Based Graduation Requirements unanimously approved by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education in November 2022, which take effect beginning with the graduating class of 2028.
  • Expanded wide-ranging, year-round, high-quality extended learning opportunities for students across the state through the All Course Network (ACN) accessible on EnrollRI.org.
  • Awarded 21 grants totaling nearly $4 million to enhance educational programming by fostering new or expanding partnerships between LEAs and community-based organizations to provide after-school learning and enrichment opportunities.
  • Distributed nearly $3.8 million in Learn365RI grants to communities committed to expanding high-quality, year-round learning for students as part of efforts to transition from 180 days of learning to 365 days and adding 1,000,000 hours of out-of-school learning.
  • Awarded 12 high-need local education agencies with $4.8 million in BSCA Stronger Connections Grant program federal subgrants to establish strategies and carry out activities that will help increase students’ sense of belonging and safety.
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