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Rhode Island's diploma system explained

Back to School: Graduation requirements

High school graduation is a big moment in the life of most teens.

After several years of controversy about whether standardized tests should be a requirement for a diploma, Rhode Island adopted a new system last year.

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Dr. Ken Wagner says while there are two types of diplomas, both represent successfully completing high school.

Students now choose either the Commissioner's Seal, which means they achieved a certain score on the SAT or PSAT, or starting with this year's ninth graders, a pathway diploma.

Students must show that they excel in a certain area of study like public service, the arts or business.

On the way to high school, students will have to take standardized tests several times. That's a federal requirement for all schools nationwide.

English and math are tested in grades 3 through 8, while science is tested in fourth and eighth grade.

Going forward, Rhode Island will use a version of the test developed in Massachusetts, called the MCAS.

Then, in grades 9 through 12, students will take the PSAT or the SAT to meet those federal testing requirements.

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