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Rhode Island Partnership to Support Early College Opportunities

Rhode Island leaders are concerned about students’ postsecondary outcomes given growing evidence that many public-school students in the state leave the system inadequately prepared for college and career opportunities. Recent data show that there are large and disparate outcomes across student groups in terms of college enrollment. For example, in 2020, 49 percent of high school graduates experiencing economic disadvantage enrolled in college programs compared to 74 percent of students not experiencing economic disadvantage.1 Early college opportunities have been shown to improve students’ chances of enrolling in college.2 In support of Rhode Island’s strategic goals, this partnership aims to reduce opportunity gaps among historically and currently underserved student groups (that is, economically disadvantaged, race/ethnicity) in terms of the number of high schools offering early college opportunities and the percentage of students earning college credits and participating in early college opportunities.

This partnership will support state education leaders in studying whether and how early college opportunities, including dual and concurrent enrollment and Advanced Placement (AP) programs, help the state achieve its postsecondary enrollment goals. The partnership will bring together a range of partners invested in improving the college and career readiness of Rhode Island youth, and specifically partners who are involved in the state’s early college programs and have the authority to make decisions about their implementation. REL Northeast & Islands will undertake a coaching project to increase school and district teams’ understanding of their early college data and set goals for improvement, as well as support the utilization of Rhode Island Department of Education’s data dashboards. REL Northeast & Islands will also conduct an applied research study through 2024 to investigate the cost-effectiveness of the state’s early college opportunities. Additionally, REL Northeast & Islands and its partners will co-develop a dissemination plan to spread awareness and deepen understanding about, support access to, and facilitate sharing of partnership study findings, implications, and resources, using strategies such as webinars, factsheets, infographics, stakeholder briefings, and videos.

Partner Organizations: Rhode Island Department of Education, Rhode Island School Counselor Association, Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, Rhode Island School Superintendents Association

1 NESSC [New England Secondary School Consortium]. (2021). Common data project: 2021 annual report, school year 2019–2020. https://www.greatschoolspartnership.org/data-report/

2 Shields, K. A., Bailey, J., Hanita, M., & Zhang, X. (2021). The impact of accelerated college credit programs on educational attainment in Rhode Island. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands. https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/

Current Projects

This project brings together key stakeholders from the state, districts, and schools to improve students’ access, participation, and success in early college programs. This project is broken into two different strands: (1) workshops on effective use of early college data, and (2) technical support on collecting and implementing data dashboard feedback. The purpose of the effective data use workshops is to introduce participants to the data inquiry cycle through which they will review available data sources and identify action steps to address barriers to access and participation in early college programs for historically marginalized groups of students. The dashboard feedback sessions aim to provide the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) with a better understanding of how different audiences are interacting with the dashboards. Subsequent training for the RIDE team will build RIDE’s capacity to use a structured process to gather and implement user feedback.
This study examines the cost per outcome for each of Rhode Island's three early college programs separately—dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and Advanced Placement. Rhode Island K–12 and higher education leaders expressed a need for this type of information to provide an additional source of evidence as they make decisions about investments in the specific resources needed for each of the three early college programs.

No completed projects at this time.

Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: November 09, 2023
During this session, facilitators will work with school teams to understand the recently introduced Accountability Diploma Plus ratings and use the data inquiry mindset to develop SMART goals that address needs identified through the rating process. The...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: July 10, 2023
This session will provide the state-level data dashboard development team with a structured process and tool to gather and implement feedback on various RIDE dashboards on a regular basis. Facilitators will share feedback that they gathered on Rhode...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: April 04, 2023
Learn about the benefits of early college and career opportunities and how REL Northeast & Islands is working with Vermont and Rhode Island to strengthen their ongoing efforts to provide these opportunities to students.
Event Type: Training Material | Event Date: January 31, 2023
In this session, participants will explore ways to use a data inquiry cycle framework for interpreting data. Participants will be oriented on strategies for data-based decision making to ensure equitable participation in early college programs. Participants...

REL Northeast & Islands Logic Model (723 KB)

REL Northeast & Islands Logic Model