Identifying Early Warning Indicators in Three Ohio School Districts

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.