Dictionary of Data Terms
The definitions of the six summary evaluations of Classification Status under the new Rhode Island Accountability System are:
Commended: The strongest performance across all measures
Leading: Strong achievement in reading and math, small or no gaps between groups of students, and/or are improving student achievement
Typical: Performance at or near the state average, sometimes with pockets of strength and/or challenges in one or more areas
Warning: A combination of low achievement in reading and math, unacceptable gaps, little or no improvement in achievement or graduation rates, and/or failure to test enough students
Focus: Substandard achievement in reading and math and/or unacceptable achievement gaps
Priority: The lowest achievement in reading and math, intolerable performance
The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) is administered annually to children in Rhode Island schools that receive public education funding, according to the following schedule:
- Math - grades 3 through 8 and 11
- Reading - grades 3 through 8 and 11
- Writing - grades 5, 8 and 11
- Science - grades 4, 8 and 11
Students take the NECAP Math, Reading and Writing assessments in the fall. NECAP Science assessments are taken in the spring. The results of NECAP assessments are published to the public and used by the state primarily to assess school improvement to meet the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal law.
Performance on the assessments is measured as:
Proficient with Distinction: Students demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to participate and excel in instructional activities at the current grade level.
Proficient: Students demonstrate only minor gaps in the knowledge and skills needed to participate and excel in instructional activities at the current grade level, and it is likely that these gaps can be addressed during the course of typical classroom instruction.
Partially Proficient: Students demonstrate gaps in the knowledge and skills needed to participate and excel in instructional activities at the current grade level. Additional instructional support may be necessary for these students to meet grade-level expectations.
Substantially Below Proficient: Students demonstrate extensive and significant gaps in the knowledge and skills needed to participate and excel in instructional activities at the current grade level. Additional instructional support is necessary for these students to meet grade-level expectations.
You can also access school, district and statewide reports prepared by Measured Progress, the company that administers the NECAP assessments, by clicking here.
The College Board creates and administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), a college admission test that is not part of Rhode Island's assessment program. Students who so choose pay to take the test which examines in the areas of reading, writing and math. Most colleges require SAT scores as part of the application process. The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association of schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations.
The data presented on InfoWorks display the average SAT scores in each tested area (Math, Reading, Writing) for high school students - typically juniors and seniors - who took the exam the prior academic year. A perfect SAT score on each individual test is 800 points.
For the most recent reports on each state's results, click here.
The College Board created, administers, and scores Advanced Placement (AP) Exams to assess college-level learning in 37 subject areas. The College Board works with high schools nationally to develop the curriculum for AP courses, which many schools offer, to prepare their students for the exams and for college.
Number of Exams Taken: This indicator reports how many exams were administered in each high school, district and the state during the year.
Number of Students to Take an Exam: These data report how many unique students took an AP exam during the year. Many students take more than one AP exam in a given year. While most exams are taken by seniors, sometimes juniors, sophomore, and even freshmen take AP exams.
Number and Percent of Exams Scored at College-Mastery Level: "Mastery" is a score of at least 3, on a scale from 1 to 5. The College Board considers a score of 3 to represent "mid-level C performance in college," while 4 and 5 count as a "B" or "A" respectively. Colleges and universities differ as to whether they'll actually grant college credit for "mastery-level" AP exams.
Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)
The Developmental Reading Assessment is required for accountability purposes only in those schools where the highest grade is first grade, also known as "early grade schools". Other schools use the test for their own purposes, but only "early grade schools" are required to administer and report the DRA.
Teachers with Emergency Certification
Individuals who do not qualify for full state certification may be granted an emergency certificate to teach in the public schools, upon written request of the Superintendent of Schools, when fully certified applicants are not available. The Superintendents must advertise for certified candidates in the statewide newspaper and must first contact local colleges and universities with educator-preparation programs. For details and applications, see RIDE's Educator Certification page.
Not Highly Qualified Teachers
The No Child Left behind Act introduced the term "Highly Qualified Teacher," and requires that all teachers of core academic subjects be highly qualified. To meet the federal definition a teacher must 1) have a Bachelor’s Degree, 2) hold full state certification and 3) demonstrate subject matter competency in the core academic subject(s) by having a major or its equivalent or by passing a rigorous content knowledge test.
RIDE collects data from all schools and districts that determine what percentage of classes are taught by "highly qualified teachers." Note that a teacher may be highly qualified in one subject, but not in another (e.g., a science teacher may be highly qualified in biology but not in physics).
Read more about Rhode Island's criteria to determine if a teacher is highly qualified.
The ratio of teachers to students is a simple calculation dividing the number of students in a school by the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers.
Families and Communities
Student Eligibility for Subsidized Lunch
Indicates the percentage of students from families whose income falls below federal guidelines (poverty or near-poverty) and are therefore eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch.
Families and Communities
Students from Various Racial/Ethnic Backgrounds
African-American: A student having origins in any of the African-American racial groups, not including people of Hispanic origins.
Asian: A student having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia or the Pacific Islands, e.g., China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands and Samoa.
Hispanic: A student of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
Multiracial: The federal government does not use a demographic category of "multiracial," so this indicates that students have checked more than one racial option.
Native American: A student having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, including American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts.
White: A student having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, or the Indian subcontinent.
Families and Communities
Students Receiving ESL/Bilingual Education Services
Indicates the percentage of children receiving special English Language Services.
English as a Second Language: Students receive content area instruction solely in English while learning English as a second language.
Bilingual Education: Students receive instruction in both English and another language to support content-area learning while learning English as a second language.
Families and Communities
Students Receiving Special Education Services
Indicates the percentage of children who have an Individual Education Plan or IEP. An IEP specifies what special-education services the child should be receiving.
Safe and Supportive Schools
The percentage of time enrolled students were present during each district's required instructional days per year. The state mandates a minimum of 180 days.
Safe and Supportive Schools
The percentage of students who missed 10% or more school days during the year. This calculation only includes students who were enrolled at least 90 days in a given school or district.
Safe and Supportive Schools
Four-Year Graduation Rate
The percentage of students that enrolled in the 9th grade and graduated from high school four years later.
Dropped Out: The percentage of students that enrolled in the 9th grade, but withdrew from school, including students who exited their school for unknown reasons. In the 2012 Legislative session, the legal age at which a student could formally withdraw rose from 16 to 18 years of age. The data will be inconsistent, therefore, because those who leave school before 18 will show up as "absent" rather than as "dropped-out."
Received GED: The percentage of students in a "cohort," defined as those who entered the 9th grade together, who chose to obtain a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) instead of completing four years of high school, graduating with their class and earning a conventional high-school diploma.
Still in School: The percentage of students who stay in school longer than four years to complete their high school diploma.
Safe and Supportive Schools
Five-Year Graduation Rate
The total percentage of graduates that includes both those who graduated on time with their original 9th grade cohort and those in the same cohort who graduated a year later, after five years in high school.
Percent Graduated in 2010: This shows the percentage of students that enrolled in the 9th grade for the first time in 2006-07 and graduated from high school four years later.
Percent Graduated in 2011: This is the percentage of students that enrolled in the 9th grade for the first time in 2006-07 and graduated from high school five years later
Percent Graduated in Five Years: This is the combined graduation rate for students that enrolled in the 9th grade for the first time in 2006-07 and graduated from high school either four or five years later.
Safe and Supportive Schools
The proportion of the total student enrollment who stayed in the same school throughout the school year. The rate is calculated by taking the number of students who are members of a school for 170 days or more and dividing by the total number of students enrolled in the school during the year.
Safe and Supportive Schools
The rate of student turnover, or the percentage of students who moved into or out of the school during the school year. The rate is calculated by taking the total number of students entering or leaving a school between October 1st and June 1st divided by the average daily membership in the school during the school year.
Note: The stability and mobility indicators measure different phenomena and are not inverses of one another. The mobility index measures the rate of flow through the non-stable portion of the student body. Together, the two indicators describe the degree of turnover in the school and its potentially disruptive effect on the classroom environment.
Safe and Supportive Schools
Incidents of Suspension - Consequences
Out of School Suspension: The temporary dismissal of a student from classes by duly authorized school personnel in accordance with established regulation. Students serve their suspension outside of school. According to 2102 legislation, students may not be suspended out-of-school for attendance-related offenses.
In School Suspension: The temporary dismissal of a student from class by duly authorized school personnel in accordance with established regulation. Students serve their time in these suspensions under supervision during school hours, for at least half of the school's day.
Alternative Placement: Placed in an alternative program for disciplinary reasons.
Safe and Supportive Schools
Incidents of Suspension - Infractions
Alcohol: Possession, use or sale of intoxicating alcoholic beverages.
Arson: To unlawfully and intentionally damage, or attempt to damage any real or personal property by fire or incendiary device.
Assault of a Student by a Student: An actual intentional touching or striking of another student against his or her will or intentionally causing bodily harm to an individual. This category should be used only when the attack is very serious, to warrant calling the school administration, the police, or bringing in security, where the intent is to do bodily harm to someone.
Assault of a Teacher or Other School Staff by a Student: An actual intentional touching or striking of a teacher or staff member against his or her will or intentionally causing bodily harm to an individual. This category should be used only when the attack is very serious, to warrant calling the school administration, the police, or bringing in security, where the intent is to do bodily harm to someone.
Attendance - Cut/Skipped Class: Absence from class.
Attendance - Cut/Skipped Detention: Absence from detention.
Attendance - Left School Grounds: Leaving school grounds without permission.
Attendance - Tardy: Tardy to school or class.
Attendance - Truant: Absent for the day without authorization.
* Note: According to 2012 legislation, students may no longer be suspended out-of-school for attendance-related offenses.
Bomb Threat: Threatening to cause mental or physical harm to occupants of a school or to a school building by using a bomb or other incendiary device.
Breaking and Entering: The unlawful entry into a school building or other property with the intent to commit a crime.
Communication/Electronic Devices: Having on one’s person a paging device, cellular telephone, or other electronic communication device that violates an individual school's Code of Conduct.
Controlled Substances - Possession or Under the Influence: The unlawful use, cultivation, manufacture, distribution, purchase, possession, transportation or importation of any controlled drug or narcotic substance, or equipment and device used for preparing or taking drugs or narcotics. Includes being under the influence of drugs or substances represented as drugs (including over the counter and prescription medications) on school transportation, at school-sponsored events or at school.
Controlled Substances - Possession with Intent to Sell: The possession of a marketable quantity of any controlled drug or narcotic substance or equipment and devices used for preparing or taking drugs or narcotics. Category includes over-the-counter and prescription medications if abused by students.
Controlled Substances - Sale of: The sale of any controlled drug or narcotic substance or equipment and devices used for preparing or taking drugs or narcotics. Category includes over-the-counter and prescription medications if abused by students.
Disorderly Conduct - serious class or campus disruption, etc.: Any act which substantially disrupts the orderly conduct of a school function. This includes behavior which substantially disrupts the orderly learning environment or poses a threat to the health, safety, and/or welfare of students, staff, or others.
Extortion: Unlawfully obtaining money, property, or any other thing of value, either tangible or intangible, through the use or threat of force, misuse of authority, threat of criminal persecution, threat of destruction of reputation or social standing, or through other coercive means.
Fighting - mutual altercation: Mutual participation in a fight involving physical violence, where there is no one main offender. Does not include verbal confrontations, tussles or other minor confrontations.
Fire Regulations Violation: Creating a false fire alarm; pulling alarm; possession of matches or lighters.
Forgery: Forging or tampering with school documents. Examples are changing grades or signing permission slips.
Gambling: Unlawfully betting or wagering money or something else of value; assisting, promoting or operating a game of chance; tampering with the outcome of a sporting event or contest to gain a gambling advantage.
Gang Activity: Behavior characterized by turf concerns, symbols, special dress, or colors among a somewhat organized group of some duration.
Harassment - Sexual: Unwanted, repeated, verbal or physical sexual behavior which is offensive and objectionable to the recipient, causing discomfort or humiliation and interfering with school performance.
Harassment - Stalking: Threatening by following or watching or placing another in fear of receiving bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint and following or watching the intended victim.
Harassment - Verbal/Physical: Verbal or physical conduct relating to an individual’s membership in a class -- including, but not limited to, perceived race, religion, color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, political beliefs, marital status, age, social and family background, linguistic preference, or disability that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.
Hate Crimes: An action motivated by hate due to some characteristics or perceived characteristics of the victim. Any act, or attempted act, to cause physical injury, emotional suffering or property damage through intimidation, harassment, racial/ethnic slurs and bigoted epithets, vandalism, force, motivated all or in part by hostility to the victim’s real or perceived race, religion, color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, political beliefs, marital status, age, social and family background, linguistic preference, or disability. These actions create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
Hazing: Method of initiation into any organization, group, club, etc., which causes or is likely to cause bodily danger, harm, personal degradation, disgrace, humiliation, or mental harm.
Insubordination/Disrespect: Refusing a directive of a teacher, administrator or other staff member.
Kidnapping/Abduction: The unlawful seizure, transportation and/or detention of a person against his/her will, or of a minor without the consent of his/her custodial parent(s) or legal guardian.
Larceny - personal or school property, or from vehicle on school property: The unlawful taking, carrying, leading or riding away of property of another person without threat, violence or bodily harm. Included are pocket picking, purse or backpack snatching if left unattended or no force used to take it from owner, theft from a building, theft from a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts or accessories, theft of bicycles, theft.
Obscene/Abusive Language or Gestures Directed Toward a Student: To direct pornographic images, gestures or obscene language, verbally or in writing, to a student.
Obscene/Abusive Language or Gestures Directed Toward Staff: To direct pornographic images, gestures or obscene language, verbally or in writing, to a staff member.
Other: Any school conduct violation/incident resulting in short- or long-term suspension not classified in other required codes.
Threat/Intimidation physical or verbal threat or intimidation: Unlawful placement of another person in fear of bodily harm through verbal threats, without displaying a weapon or subjecting the person to actual physical attack. This also includes bullying.
Bullying: Repeated negative behaviors either physical or mental, which target a specific victim. Behaviors may include, but not be limited to, threats, verbal or written abuse, physical abuse, harassment, ethnic or gender slurs, targeting a specific victim.
Tobacco - possession or use: Where applicable, the possession, use, distribution or sale of tobacco products on school grounds, school-sponsored events and on transportation to and from school or other school transportation.
Trespassing: To enter or remain on a public school campus without authorization or invitation and with no lawful purpose for entry.
Unauthorized Use of Computers or any Other Technology: Willfully causing or attempting to cause damage to software, operating systems, data files, or unauthorized or inappropriate use of technology, as defined by the local code of conduct. This includes any violation of local technology policies.
Vandalism - destruction of school or personal property: The willful and/or malicious destruction, damage or defacement of public or private property, real or personal, without the consent of the owner of the person having custody or control of it. This category includes graffiti.
Examples include: incidents such as destroying school computer records, carving initials or words in desktop or spray painting on walls.
Weapon Possession on school property - includes firearms and other weapons: Firearms: A firearm "is any weapon (including a starter gun) which is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer, any destructive device; or any machine gun." A destructive device is any bomb, grenade, mine, rocket, rocket, missile, pipebomb, or similar device continuing some type of explosive that is designed to explode and is capable of causing bodily harm or property damage. Includes firearms of any kind (operable or inoperable, loaded or unloaded): including but not limited to hand, zip, pistol, rifle, starter gun, flare gun and realistic replica.
Other Weapons: Possession, use or intention of use of any instrument or object to inflict harm on another person, to intimidate any person. Included in this category are all types of knives, chains (any not being used for the purpose for which it was normally intended and capable of harming an individual) pipe (any length or metal not being used for the purpose it was normally intended), razor blades or similar instruments (including pencils, pens), nunchakus, brass knuckles. Chinese stars, billy clubs, tear gas gun, electrical weapon or device (stun gun), or BB or pellet gun, explosives or propellants. Possession of any type of knife (including a pocket or penknife) is included here.
Funding and Resources
Tax and Spending
Tax and Spending data are calculated by the RI Department of Revenue, Division of Property, Valuation and Municipal Finance. These data points were selected to give the public a comparative sense of each district's ability and effort to support public education.
District Property Value per Student: The property value per student is calculated as the total assessed value of all real property in the district divided by the average daily enrollment of public school students living in the district.
District Tax Rate per $1000.00: Established by local governments, this is a dollar rate per $1,000 of property value on owner-occupied residential properties in the district. The information on tax rates is for owner-occupied residential property. Thus, a $10.00 tax rate on a $500,000 house will raise $5,000 in tax revenue. A house valued at $250,000 will raise only half that amount, or $2,500. A poorer community, whose houses have an average value of $250,000, would have to raise its tax rate to $20.00 per $1,000 in order to generate $5,000.
Except in the wealthiest communities in the state, homestead-exemption plans and classified tax rates have been used to moderate the tax burden on owner-occupied houses so that tax rates on owner-occupied houses in the poorer urban communities are not significantly higher (and may be lower) than tax rates in suburban communities. The urban communities also may tax commercial property at higher rates than the owner-occupied residential property rate.
District Per Pupil Expenditure: The average dollar amount that the district spends for each public school student living in the district.
Jamestown and Little Compton send all high-school students out of district on a tuition basis. The high-school students in these two districts are counted as part of the total number of pupils in determining the per-pupil expenditures.
Median Family Income: From the U.S. Census Bureau, median family income provides more contextual data about the wealth of each municipality.
Considered together, property value, tax rate, and per pupil expenditure indicate each district's ability to generate revenue to support its schools and other municipal services. You will notice the inequities among the 36 districts resulting from the value of their property. Municipal salaries, such as those of teachers, cost roughly the same from community to community, so poor communities must tax their citizens at higher rates to generate the same amount of revenue as wealthier communities. (Note that this tax burden in the urban districts falls on owners of commercial property as well as on owner-occupied residential property.)
The district property tax capacity and tax effort data described below indicate how much a municipality can or could tax its local properties compared with how much it does tax the local properties.
District Property Tax Capacity: This is the amount of taxable property wealth available to a community on a per capita basis. For purposes here among regional schools districts, (for example, Chariho - Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton) the capacities of each municipality have been aggregated to a district capacity. The tax capacity of each district was then divided by the statewide capacity and multiplied by 100.
District Tax Effort: This figure indicates the extent to which a district is taxed in relation to the rest of the state. The property tax of a district is divided by the state average and multiplied by 100.
Funding and Resources
The Uniform Chart of Accounts (UCOA)
UCOA is a fiscal reporting system that allows every school and district to post their detailed financial information using exactly the same methods and account. This standardization allows the public to make apples-to-apples comparisons of income and expenditures across schools and districts, and compared with state averages.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is often called "the gold standard" of educational testing in the United States. These exams are administered every two years in math and reading to students in grades 4, 8, and/or 12. On a more occasional basis, NAEP tests other academic subjects including science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and U.S. history. NAEP assessments in foreign language and world history are under development.
Not every child is tested; NAEP "samples" the population, meaning that they test a sufficiently large number of each states' students to get a statistically-representative result. The exam is essentially the same from year to year, providing a clear picture of students' progress over time. NAEP is the only standardized exam given in every state in the nation, allowing the public to compare states accurately. With the exception of certain special reports — on large urban districts, for example — NAEP results are only available at the state level, not the district, school or individual level.
These surveys collect perceptions-and-opinions data from students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Results are available in multiple ways:
- As an entire set of student/parent/teacher responses for each school, separated by grade level. These downloadable PDFs also include statewide comparisons.
- As a set of administrator responses at the statewide level, combined into groups of LEAs: Urban, Urban Ring, Suburban, and State Operated and Charter LEAs (LEA stands for Local Education Authority, i.e. school district or state-operated or charter school).
- As a set of administrator responses combined into individual LEAs. These downloadable PDFs also include statewide comparisons. These reports are not available for every LEA.
- As individual questions, categorized by topic and available by grade level — elementary, middle, or high — in sortable tables in the relevant areas on the statewide page and each school page. These reports will be available in 2013.
A note on InfoWorks data reporting: To ensure confidentiality, data are not reported for groups with fewer than 10 students, so that no individual student is identifiable. Where this is the case, InfoWorks reports "too few data." Also, "no data" is used to point out instances where data are not available for a particular state, district, or school indicator.