Early Warning Response and Intervention Systems

High School GraduatesDespite improvement in overall U.S. high school graduation rates, inequities in rates among different student subgroups persist. It is also widely recognized that graduating from high school will leave many students unprepared for post-graduation success, which often requires advanced education or skills training. 

To address these issues, VARC is working with research partners to develop early warning response and intervention systems. These systems provide accurate, easily understood, and up-to-date predictive information on “at risk” students to educators. They facilitate the assignment of these students to interventions specifically aligned with their needs and create opportunities to evaluate these interventions.

Accountability and Performance in Secondary Education in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS):

Through a fellowship awarded by the Council of the Great City Schools, VARC and MPS developed an early warning system to identify middle and high school students at risk of:

  • failing to graduate from high school;
  • graduating, but with low levels of college/workforce readiness.

Theory and Application of Early Warning Systems for High School and Beyond:

Continuing our work with MPS, VARC has developed a more robust set of early warning predictive models. Using preexisting and new district data, this work:

  • broadens the set of outcomes that early warning work predicts, from grade 9 promotion through college entry, persistence, and graduation;
  • conveys early warning information to practitioners in new ways, such as electronic reports and dashboards;
  • links early warning indicators to research-based interventions in a way that allows for rigorous evaluation.

Post-Secondary Readiness: College and Success Indicators

Using high school predictors including ACT score and GPA, VARC and MPS are evaluating students’ readiness for college. College indicators include the percent of students requiring remedial coursework, on-time enrollment, persistence, and graduation.

In Progress: Statewide Early Warning Systems

In partnership with the Wisconsin Department Public Instruction, VARC is pursuing opportunities to develop a statewide early warning system. This system could serve as a prototype for other states and have potential impact at the national level.