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.
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 has held at 84% since 2017.
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.
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.)
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.
50% reduction in educational disparities by graduation rate
The percentage of public high school students graduating has held steady at 84% since 2017. Similarly, disaggregated data over time show some movement for some subgroups (American Indian and English Language Learners ticking slightly upward). Yet disparities persist and follow patterns visible in the 3rd grade reading performance and data relevant to the Foundation's other strategic initiative areas.
Source: Rhode Island Department of Education.