Early Warning Systems (EWS) represent a collaborative approach among educators, administrators, parents, and communities by using data effectively to keep students on the pathway to graduation. EWS
use indicators to identify students who may be at risk academically or socially and create response systems to ensure students receive
timely and appropriate support by providing the right intervention for the right student at the right time.
The development of predictive early warning indicators has occurred rapidly over the past decade. In the early 2000s, researchers set out to identify the most highly predictive factors of dropping out.
They identified three key indicators (the ABCs) that were better predictors of student outcomes than demographics or test scores. By closely monitoring attendance patterns, behavior issues, and course performance, educators and administrators can proactively intervene and provide targeted support to students who may be struggling.
The best EWS are characterized by a combination of features, such as:
- rapid identification of students who are in trouble;
- rapid interventions that are targeted to students’ immediate and longer-term need for support, redirection and greater success;
- the frequent monitoring of the success of interventions;
- a rapid modification of interventions that are not working;
- and shared learning from outcomes.
Early Warning Systems, when coupled with the ABCs framework, contribute to creating a supportive and responsive learning environment for middle school students.