Since 2008, the ALC has been working across the state to rethink our approach to high school credit. As Rhode Island moves towards a proficiency-based graduation system driven by the Common Core State Standards and away from “seat-time,” we are working with high schools to broaden delivery of instruction and demonstration of student proficiencies without compromising quality and learning standards.

Expanded Learning Opportunities for Credit (ELOs for Credit) provide a credit-worthy opportunity for students to pursue rigorous learning outside of the traditional school day that is student-driven, hands-on, and experiential. ELOs for Credit arise from student interest to dive deeper into a topic taught in class, study something outside the curriculum, explore a career interest, or develop a skill. ELOs for Credit expand upon or connect to learning in the classroom, allowing students to take advantage of community resources, such as colleges, community organizations, and industry employers.

Key Principles


Our Model

Through collaboration with a community mentor, who guides applied learning, and a teacher mentor in the subject for credit, who ensures rigor and determines credit eligibility, the student drives their own learning. The ELO team works together to create learning objectives and benchmark activities, with an emphasis on the following elements: research, reflection, product, and presentation. Students demonstrate their competency by presenting their product to a validation committee as determined by the school. Based on assessments of benchmark activities and the assessment of the final product and presentation, the credit is awarded by the teacher of record.


Rigor and Assessment


Learning objectives, benchmark activities, product, presentation, and credit designation are set by teacher mentor and team


Student works towards learning objectives; completes benchmark activities and receives feedback; student works towards product and presentation


Student demonstrates final mastery through product and presentation with formal assessment by a validation committee; teacher mentor assigns credit

*The time frame of ELO depends how student progresses towards competency with a recommended minimum time of 10 weeks.

ELOs in RI

Successful models of ELOs exist in three districts in Rhode Island: Central Falls, Woonsocket, and Providence. ELOs allow flexibility for districts to work around their strengths and community assets to create the model that fits best. While ELOs in each district follow the same Key Principles, the models vary significantly from district to district.