By Implementation Pathway Phase

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Report : College and Career Readiness in Boston: Understanding and Tracking Competencies and Indicators

April 2017

American Institutes for Research (AIR) experts Matthew Welch, PhD, Aseel Abulhab, and Susan Bowles Therriault, EdD wrote this review of research on college and career readiness indicators for partners at the Boston Opportunity Agenda. The indicators are based on students’ experiences during their years in high school. Based on a review of peer reviewed journal articles, this report includes evidence of academic indicators, soft skills, and contextual and social indicators . In addition to the articles reviewed, the team from AIR conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with experts with a diverse set of experiences with measuring college and career readiness indicators and similar constructs.

Report : Getting Students On Track for Graduation: Impacts of the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System After One Year

April 2017

Researchers from AIR, on behalf of the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, conducted a rigorous evaluation of the implementation of the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) at 73 high schools over 3 years. The evaluation results released in April 2017 found that schools that implemented EWIMS showed positive impacts for reducing attendance and course failures for at-risk students within the first year of implementation. This study is among the very first to demonstrate that early warning indicators can be used within the first year to reduce the number of students at-risk of high school dropout.

Implementation Guide : District Guide for Creating Indicators for Early Warning Systems

December 2016

While research has validated early warning indicators for high school dropout and other educational milestones in many locations, those indicators may vary across contexts. Districts and schools that seek to use an early warning system relying on these indicators are left to determine which indicators to use and to trust that the cut point for those indicators is the same in their communities as they are across the country. This guide from the Regional Educational Laboratory West at WestEd, written by Yibing Li, Jenny Scala, Dean Gerdeman, and David Blumenthal of American Institutes for Research (AIR), provides a step-by-step guide that school districts can take to identify and select their own early warning indicators. Included in the guide is a set of templates to document decisions and organize the analysis to identify and select appropriate early warning indicators for your school or district.

In addition to the guide, the team from REL West and AIR produced this short video describing the guide and how it can be used:

Report : Early Warning Systems to Improve Student Outcomes: Supporting States, Districts, and Schools with Every Student Succeeds Act Requirements

January 2017

This brief from Early Warning Systems in Education at American Institutes for Research (AIR) describes how an early warning system can meet Every Student Succeeds Act, 2015 (ESSA) requirements for states to support the lowest performing high schools in the nation. AIR’s experts have provided direct aid and support to more than 100 school districts in more than 30 states to build, implement, and evaluate a variety of EWS initiatives. This support has resulted in improved graduation rates for schools, districts, and states.

Video : What is an Early Warning System?

October 2016

An early warning system (EWS) is a systematic process of identification and intervention to help students get on track to meeting educational milestones such as high school readiness, on-time graduation, and college and career readiness. This short video from the Early Warning Systems in Education at AIR provides a brief introduction to the EWS process and how it can be used to improve educational achievement.

Tool : Early Warning System High School Tool

November 2011

DISCLAIMER: The Early Warning System High School Tool is a Microsoft Excel© macro-enabled worksheet. More recent versions may not include programming to enable the content of the worksheet. A compatible version of Microsoft Excel© is required to use the tool. The tool is designed to work on Microsoft Windows© operating systems only.

The Early Warning System (EWS) High School Tool was developed by the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research, in collaboration with Matrix Knowledge Group, to allow users to identify students showing early warning signs of risk for dropping out of high school. The tool calculates research-based early warning indicators that are predictive of whether students graduate or drop out of high school. The early warning indicators include course failures, grade point average (GPA), credit accumulation, and behavioral incidents. Designed to be used throughout the school year on a regular basis – after the first 20 or 30 days of the school year and after each grading period – users can identify at-risk students, assign them to customized interventions, and monitor the response to these interventions.

The EWS High School Tool is supported by a written guide and a webinar training series produced by the National High School. These resources are all available on www.earlywarningsystems.org.

Implementation Guide: Early Warning System High School Implementation Guide

Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) Professional Development Training Series

Tool : Early Warning System Middle Grades Tool

November 2011

DISCLAIMER: The Early Warning System Middle School Tool is a Microsoft Excel© macro-enabled worksheet. More recent versions may not include programming to enable the content of the worksheet. A compatible version of Microsoft Excel© is required to use the tool. The tool is designed to work on Microsoft Windows© operating systems only.

The Early Warning System (EWS) Middle Grades Tool was developed by the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research, in collaboration with Matrix Knowledge Group, to allow users to identify students showing early warning signs of risk for dropping out of high school. The tool calculates research-based early warning indicators that are predictive of whether students graduate or drop out of high school. The early warning indicators include course failures, grade point average (GPA), credit accumulation, and behavioral incidents. Designed to be used throughout the school year on a regular basis – after the first 20 or 30 days of the school year and after each grading period – users can identify at-risk students, assign them to customized interventions, and monitor the response to these interventions.

The EWS Middle Grades Tool is supported by a written guide and a webinar training series produced by the National High School. These resources are all available on www.earlywarningsystems.org.

Implementation Guide: Early Warning System Middle Grades Implementation Guide

Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) Professional Development Training Series

Webinar : The State Role in Early Warning Data Systems

March 2016

States can play a critical role in advancing the development and use of early warning systems (EWS). This webinar was hosted by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest and its Dropout Prevention Research Alliance to discuss state-level support of EWS. AIR’s expert Susan Therriault, Ed.D., discussed her research on early warning systems and how she had helped conduct research and support states developing their own EWS. Other presenters included Jared Knowles of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, John Gimpl of the Minnesota Department of Education, and Timothy Conboy of Rosemont High School of Minnesota. Access the video and related resources on the REL Midwest website.

Report : Identifying Early Warning Indicators in Three Ohio School Districts

July 2016

This report from the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest describes a project conducted on behalf of the Midwest Dropout Prevention Research Alliance to analyze early warning indicators of failure to graduate high school on time in three school districts located in Ohio. The report authors were David Stuit of Basis Policy Research and Mindee O’Cummings, Heather Norbury, Jessica Heppen, Sonica Dhillon, Jim Lindsay, and Bo Zhu of American Institutes for Research. Analyzing attendance, behavioral incidents, and course performance for two cohorts of students in 8th and 9th grades, the report found that different indicators previously identified in the research and different thresholds were the most accurate predictors of students’ failure to graduate on time in the three districts. The report concludes that attendance was shown to be predictive in all three districts and that predictors were more accurate in the 9th grade. School districts interested in using early warning indicators to identify students would benefit from local validation to improve the accuracy of identification. The report includes a supplementary infographic describing the approach used to validate indicators across the three districts.

Tool : Keeping Your Student in School

September 2016

This brochure from the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest (REL Midwest) summarizes research on the importance of high school graduation. Included in the brochure is a feature on common early warning indicators, including chronic absences (missing more than 10% of instructional time), failure to pass courses in core subject areas (English, mathematics, science, and social studies), failure to be promoted to the next grade level, and disengagement from the classroom. Suggested strategies and related research are also included. The brochure is intended for parents and guardians to communicate about the importance of on-time graduation.

Video : Preventing School Dropout: What You Need to Know

October 2016

This video from the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest (REL Midwest) summarizes research on early warning systems and dropout prevention. The video includes highlights from the research conducted by REL Midwest on behalf of the research alliances in the Midwestern states. As many as one in five high school students will fail to graduate on time. Focusing on attendance, behavior, and course grades, educators can identify students showing early signs of being off track for on-time graduation. An early warning system allows educators to assign and provide appropriate interventions to at-risk students early on, during the 9th grade year, to prevent dropout before it happens.

Report : From Accountability to Prevention: Early Warning Systems Put Data to Work for Struggling Students

May 2015

This issue paper from the Early Warning Systems in Education team at American Institutes for Research includes lessons learned from more than seven years of working with individual schools, school districts, and state education agencies as they design, develop, implement, and refine early warning systems. The paper authors were Mindee O’Cummings and Susan Therriault. The paper provides practical lessons for educators at all levels and backgrounds – whether considering starting a statewide EWS for the first time or revisiting the structure of practices at a school that has been implementing an EWS process for many years, valuable insights and considerations can be found. Lessons are grouped by levels that include schools, districts, and states.

Article : AIR’s Jenny Scala Hosts Workshop on Selecting Appropriate Interventions in Puerto Rico

December 2014

Jenny Scala, Senior Researcher at American Institutes for Research and member of the Early Warning Systems in Education team, conducted a workshop on behalf of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northeast & Islands in Puerto Rico on October 10, 2014. The workshop was attended by more than 60 school-based social workers in primary and secondary schools and others from across the island. Scala led the participants through using a multi-tiered system of support and evidence-based recommendations from two Institute of Education Science practice guides on using data to improve decision-making and dropout-prevention. Matching supports to students needs is an integral part of an early warning system. Read more about the workshop by visiting the REL Northeast & Islands website.

Read the Article: Support for Puerto Rico: Selecting Appropriate Interventions for At-Risk Students

Report : College Persistence Indicators Research Review

August 2014

This guide, written by Susan Therriault, Ed.D. and Ariel Krivoshey of American Institutes for Research provides a review of research on higher education persistence indicators that can be used to predict whether a student will remain enrolled in college and complete a two- or four-year degree. A variety of factors at the personal, academic, and institutional levels affect the persistence of an individual student. In spite of these many factors, signs of risk that a student will not complete a degree can be detected early on. These indicators may be tracked by institutions of higher education to improve completion rates. The guide was originally developed for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education but has been adapted for many states.

Implementation Guide : Early Warning System High School Implementation Guide

March 2013

This guide is designed to build the capacity of school- and district-level practitioners to implement the National High School Center’s EWS High School tool. Authors include Susan Therriault, Mindee O’Cummings, Jessica Heppen, Laura Yerhot, and Jenny Scala of American Institutes for Research. The guide and tools support the establishment and implementation of an EWS for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk of dropping out of high school.

Implementation Guide : Early Warning System Middle Grades Implementation Guide

February 2013

This guide is designed to build the capacity of school- and district-level practitioners to implement the EWS Middle Grades tool. Authors include Susan Therriault, Mindee O’Cummings, Jessica Heppen, Laura Yerhot, Jenny Scala, and Michelle Perry of American Institutes for Research. The guide and tool support the establishment and implementation of an EWS for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk of dropping out of the middle grades.

Webinar : Training 5: Progress Monitoring With the EWS Tools (Professional Development Training Series)

November 2012

This fifth of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides participants with an understanding of how to use the EWS Middle Grades and High School tools to monitor students’ response to interventions. Presenters from the National High School Center’s EWS team discuss how to ensure that an intervention has been implemented with fidelity and that it is meeting a given student’s needs.

Webinar : Training 4: Assigning Students to Appropriate Interventions (EWS Professional Development Training Series)

November 2012

This fourth of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides participants with an understanding of how to use the EWS Tools to support at-risk students with effective interventions. Presenters from the National High School Center’s EWS Team explain how to identify root causes of student risk based on the EWS Tool reports and other information sources. The presenters also provide participants with resources to help them select appropriate interventions to address root causes of risk. This process corresponds with Step 5 of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first webinar.

Webinar : Training 3: Effectively Using Your EWS Reports: Hints and Tips (EWS Professional Development Training Series)

October 2012

This third of five 30-minute professional development presentation delivers an in-depth discussion of the various reports that can be run using the EWS Middle Grades and High School tools. Members of the National High School Center’s EWS team demonstrate how to run the reports and suggest different ways that schools and districts may use the reports to help inform their EWS decisions. This process corresponds with Steps 3 and 4 of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first webinar.

Webinar : Training 2: Introduction to the New EWS Collator Tools (EWS Professional Development Training Series)

October 2012

This presentation provides a demonstration of the free EWS Collator tools and how they can be used in conjunction with the National High School Center’s EWS Middle Grades and High School tools. Members of the National High School Center EWS team demonstrate how to load the EWS Collator tools with readily available student data and explain how that data can be then loaded into either the EWS Middle Grades or High School tools. This process corresponds with Step 2—“Use the EWS Tool”—of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first EWS Professional Development webinar.

Webinar : Training 1: The EWIMS Process and Team Formation: The Fundamentals (EWS Professional Development Training Series)

September 2012

The Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process supports the establishment and implementation of EWS for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk for dropping out of high school. This first of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides an overview of the seven-step process with a special emphasis on Step 1, Team Formation.

Report : What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on English Language Learners

May 2012

A report from the National High School Center at AIR and the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) found that ninth grade course performance is more predictive of high school graduation for English language learners (ELLs) in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) than other ELL-specific indicators, including English language proficiency level and whether students experienced interruptions in their education. Study authors included Julia Gwynne, Amber Stitziel Pareja, Stacy B. Ehrlich, and Elaine Allensworth of the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research in collaboration with the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research. The study also found that ELL students who were newcomers to CPS after age 12 were less likely to graduate than other students with the same grades and attendance. The most important factor associated with these lower graduation rates was the quality of schools these students attended, suggesting that ELLs who arrive in CPS after elementary school may struggle to navigate CPS’s system of high school choice. Read the complete press release.

Webinar : Webinar 2: How to Use the Early Warning System Middle Grades and High School Tools to Keep Students on Track for Graduation (EWS Middle Grades and High School Webinar Series)

December 2011

This webinar, presented by Dr. Mindee O’Cummings, Matt Hauenstein, Michelle Perry, and Laura Yerhot from the National High School Center, provided an in-depth demonstration of the EWS Middle Grades and High School Tools, introduced the EWS Community of Practice, and responded to questions.

Webinar : Webinar 1: Implementing an Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System to Keep Students On Track in the Middle Grades and High School (EWS Middle Grades and High School Webinar Series)

November 2011

This webinar, presented by Dr. Mindee O’Cummings and Dr. Susan Therriault from the National High School Center, provided an introduction to the seven-step Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process, the new EWS Middle Grades Tool, and the enhanced EWS High School Tool.

Report : What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on Students With Disabilities

December 2009

Freshman year course performance—more than background characteristics such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, or prior achievement—predict which students with disabilities are most at risk for dropping out of high school, according to a new report from the National High School Center at AIR and the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. Report authors include Julia Gwynne, Joy Lesnick, Holly M. Hart, and Elaine M. Allensworth of the Consortium. The report found that absences, course failures, course credits, and GPA all can be used to accurately predict whether ninth graders with disabilities will graduate from high school. Identifying these early warning indicators is especially crucial for students with disabilities, who drop out of high school at alarming rates.

Article : Developing Early Warning Systems to Identify Potential High School Dropouts

July 2008

This issue brief, written by Jessica B. Heppen and Susan Therriault, Ed.D., of the National High School Center. discusses the factors that help predict the probability that individual students will eventually drop out of high school prior to graduating and includes step-by-step instructions for building an EWS.

Report : Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs With Appropriate Interventions

October 2007

This report, authored by Louise Kennelly and Maggie Monrad of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research, outlines steps that schools can take to identify at-risk students and provide the necessary support systems and relevant interventions to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma. Further, the report discusses the use of early warning systems to target interventions for groups and individual students, offers a variety of best practice approaches undertaken by higher performing high schools, and presents effective programs that are currently being implemented to stem the dropout problem.