How Rhode Island Increased the Value of a High School Diploma
A high school diploma should mean that all students are ready for college and a career, but in Rhode Island, it did not. According to a 2019 audit, just four in a hundred Rhode Island seniors were prepared for both college and a career, and more than half graduated without concrete career skills. Thousands were ineligible to enroll even in the state’s own college system because they had not completed course requirements.
When I became commissioner of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) in 2019, I committed to ensuring that Rhode Island would start providing all its high school students with equitable opportunities for postsecondary success. To start that transformation, the department had to take a long look in the mirror. In 2019, RIDE entered into a partnership with XQ Institute, a national organization dedicated to reimagining high school education.
Also In this Issue
State leaders should retire the Carnegie unit and open the door for high school designs that ensure learning is engaging, relevant, experiential, and competency based.
State boards can take a lesson from schools that already dish up rigorous assignments in college- and career-ready courses alike and ensure more schools do it.
New graduation requirements aim to align with college admission standards and address inequities in college and career readiness.
Surveyed students report being at sea on postsecondary options and the progress they are making toward their goals.
Six elements in statewide law and policy pave the way for effective programs that help more students thrive in college courses while they are still in high school.