Florida districts monitor early warning indicators

Performance Matters solution aims to help administrators identify struggling students

early-warningIn Florida, all schools that include grades 6, 7 or 8 are now required to implement an early warning system to identify students who need additional support to improve academic performance and stay engaged in school.

The early warning system must include the following indicators: attendance below 90 percent, suspensions, and course failure or a Level 1 score on state tests in English language arts or mathematics. When a student exhibits two or more of these early warning indicators, a school-based team must convene to determine appropriate intervention strategies.

To quickly and efficiently identify students who exhibit early warning indicators, Florida school districts are implementing the Early Warning System from Performance Matters. Among recent districts to launch the Early Warning System are Indian River County, Brevard County, and Marion County.

Next page: How the early warning system works with administrators’ needs

The Early Warning System is a customizable reporting and filtering module to identify students who are at-risk or likely to become at-risk. It integrates seamlessly with Unify, the first collaborative technology platform designed for the development, review and administration of quality assessment content.

Districts can use the Early Warning System filters to set their own values and rules for attendance, discipline and academic measures, including attendance rates, absences, truancies, behavior, GPA targets, course failures, retentions, state test performance, local assessment performance, mobility and more. Educators can then use these measures to quickly find at-risk students and monitor their progress. By identifying students’ needs early, educators can begin interventions to improve students’ performance in these areas and increase retention.

“We use the Early Warning System to track attendance, discipline, mobility, retention, course failures, and academic measures,” said Brian McMahon, a performance data analyst with the School District of Indian River County. “In the past, we would’ve had to go to four different systems to get this information. With Performance Matters, it’s in one system — and we can now pair our general academic measures with student engagement. When you can see this data side-by-side, it’s very eye-opening.”

As a result of their analysis of early warning indicators, the School District of Indian River County has launched a major initiative to improve attendance system-wide.

“Since we began, we’ve seen increases in student attendance in every school and grade level,” said McMahon. “We’re also using the Early Warning System data in conjunction with our multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) and school improvement planning to help us measure our progress in improving student performance and engagement. In addition, the system makes it easier to capture data for our Title I program and grant applications as well.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Laura Ascione
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