Strategic Initiatives

2025 Impact Targets: Educational Success

In Educational Success the Foundation's investments of funding, and our institutional investment beyond grantmaking, are aimed at long term improvements in student achievement, the quality of educational environments, and coordination within the sector.

Rhode Island graduation rates

95% of students graduate from high school

The State of Rhode Island established the 95% high school graduation target in 2017 as a high school degree is the minimum requirement for college and most meaningful employment opportunities. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with a high school degree or equivalency earned an average of $10,000 more per year than those without. And a college degree results in additional average earnings of $27,000 per year over a high school diploma. Rhode Island's four-year graduation rate held steady at 84% from 2017-2021 and decreased to 83% in 2022.

Percentage of 3rd graders proficient in reading

75% of 3rd graders proficient in reading

In 2016 the State of Rhode Island established this 3rd grade reading target of 75% by 2025, essentially doubling the number of children able to read at their grade level (from 37% in 2015). This is a critical goal because children who do not read proficiently by 3rd grade struggle in later grades and are four times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers. While the trend until 2019 was positive, recent RICAS scores show significant decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many related disruptions and challenges.

Percentage of students exceeding grade level expectations

20% of students meet highest levels of proficiency in English and Math

Standardized assessments in Rhode Island score students at four levels: Exceeding grade-level expectations, meeting grade-level expectations, partially meeting expectations, and below expectations. In 2017 the State of Rhode Island established 2025 targets that 20% of students administered standardized tests would meet the highest levels of performance in English and Math. As shown, scores have been well below this level of performance and outcomes were further negatively impacted by the pandemic. (Note: the dip in 2017-2018 resulted from the implementation the RICAS, Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System, modeled after Massachusetts’ standardized testing system.)

2025 target: 50% reduction in achievement gaps

50% reduction in educational disparities by 3rd grade reading

Before the pandemic, just under 50% of 3rd graders read at grade level. In spring 2022, that figured dropped to 37% and, as shown here, there are wide variations in reading outcomes by subgroup. COVID-19 exacerbated long-standing patterns of unequal outcomes evident in measures we track in the Foundation's other strategic initiative sectors and in wider societal and systemic trends related to access, opportunity, and discrimination.

Graduation rates by subgroup

50% reduction in educational disparities by graduation rate

As indicated, disaggregated data demonstrate the persistent disparities in graduation rates for some student groups including American Indian, Black and Hispanic students and those who are limited income, qualify for IEP services and are multilingual learners. These findings follow patterns visible in the 3rd grade reading performance and data relevant to the Foundation's other strategic initiative areas.

Other sector impact targets

Learn about the 2025 impact targets for our other sectors

Learn about the data informing progress in Long Term Education Planning and Long Term Health Planning

Source: Rhode Island Department of Education.