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Schools Develop Early Warning System to Track Student Progress

Schools Develop Early Warning System to Track Student Progress

Schools across the country are now using data to keep an eye on those students who may drop out or not graduate high school. 

At a middle school in California, Principal Kelley Birch has a whiteboard with 56 students at WIllis Jepson who "have been struggling- the 7th and 8th graders who might not graduate high school a few years down the road," said an article on Marketplace.org.

Next to each name on the list, the article said, "trouble spots are noted, things like poor grades, poor attendance or serious behavior issues. The list also looks at how the school has been trying to help, and "the more marks next to a student’s name, the more interventions the teachers and counselors have attempted."

“When I see that board, I have an urgency that these kids need something now," Birch said.

In the past, Birch said "getting a full view of which kids were in trouble took time."

“We would wait for the teacher. And the teacher would go to the counselor and say, 'I have this student and they aren’t doing well," Birch said. "And the counselor would go look and say, 'Yeah, they aren’t doing well.' But by then, it’s a quarter into the school year, a semester into the school year.”

Birch, the article said, "Now uses what’s known as an Early Warning System" where "her team gathers and processes a steady stream of student data – such as GPA, attendance, demerits, and test scores – to peer into the future and spot the 7th and 8th graders most at risk of dropping out of high school."

"Research shows that the two most important factors when trying to predict whether a student will graduate from high school on-time are academic performance and attendance," the article said. "But different schools, districts and states have their own models. They might include their own variables, or they start looking for signs that a child is at risk at different points in their education. And they flag them in different ways."

Some states that have the Early Warning System are Maine, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Utah, and Idaho, according to Marketplace.org. In Wisconsin, the article said, "every 6th grader in the state is given a score between 0 and 100 that represents the child’s expected chances of finishing high school on time. Students under 78.5 are flagged as “high risk,” and their names are highlighted in red in the state’s student database."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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