Taylor Brand / January 20, 2022
Educators in the K-12 space are no strangers to the possible risk factors that affect a student’s likelihood of dropping out of school. The range of factors at play here are wide, many existing outside of a school’s possible scope of impact. There are, however, school-based “‘ABC’ early warning indicators”1 which center around attendance, behavior, and course grades. When a student is struggling in one or more of these at-risk categories it is critical to be able to quickly provide targeted support.
Additionally, we have a growing understanding of the impact that the global COVID-19 pandemic has had on students’ academic and social-emotional progress. It is more critical than ever for school leaders to be able to proactively identify at-risk students and implement targeted and timely interventions.2
Now, identifying students who are at-risk based on a variety of risk factors/metrics can be a daunting task. From collecting data from a variety of sources and student information systems, to filtering through the data to identify trends, and contextualizing that data in relation to benchmarks for progress – this is a time-consuming and complex process.
PureData’s At-Risk Dashboard is designed to help school leaders move past that data collection and interpretation phase, so they can instead spend their time evaluating progress and make targeted, transparent, and timely decisions to directly impact student success.
What can I do with the At-Risk Dashboard?
Put simply, the At-Risk Dashboard gives school leaders instant access to current school performance data that can help them target specific areas of need and implement time-effective interventions.
Administrators tell us the priority metrics and related benchmarks for progress specific to their school. We then collect, organize, and display this data in a color-coded format so that users can quickly identify their current progress. The dashboard also differentiates the data on a school-wide, group-specific, and individual student level. Filters allow the user to easily drill down into the data based on student demographics, grade levels, home rooms, specific student groups (English Language Learners, Students with IEPs, etc.), and more.
Within minutes, a school leader knows their school’s overall performance averages and has a comprehensive list of students who fall into one or more of the at-risk categories.
Shortening the progress-monitoring cycle
Let’s say, for example, that your school has set specific goals around course passage rates, GPA, suspensions issued, and daily attendance. Some school leaders may collect this data quarterly. This involves spending 1-2 weeks collecting and organizing data, analyzing and evaluating progress, and then meeting with relevant school teams to set action steps. In about 10 weeks, this process is repeated all over again.
At most, this allows for intentional progress monitoring and course-correction 3-4 times per year. If this process is done monthly, you may be able to course correct 8-9 times per year.
Instead, imagine being able to access this data at any point in the school year. Progress towards goals is not something that is “to be determined” at a later designated time. Rather, progress is something that can be evaluated whenever the need arises. Teams are able to proactively identify groups of students in need of targeted academic, behavioral, or social-emotional support. Furthermore, they can identify any potential trends, correlations, or outliers within the student data as it is presented holistically for each student.
Armed with this level of knowledge, interventions are able to be designed for the specific and unique needs of each student. Student progress related to those critical metrics is updated and presented in real-time so that team members can evaluate the effectiveness of their interventions and respond accordingly.
The At-Risk Dashboard allows a school leader to evaluate progress and course-correct, if needed, much more often than 8-9 times per year – it can be done at any time deemed necessary.
Ensure a culture of transparency and collaboration for student success
The power of this tool is found in its speed, effective visual displays, and interactive filters to provide context and specificity to your school’s data. School leaders can make proactive decisions grounded in facts, not assumptions. And students are unable to slip through the cracks when their progress is captured holistically and in real-time.
Still unsure if this tool would be helpful for your school? Below is a brief list of some of the ways the At-Risk Dashboard can be used within your school:
- Leadership Teams can quickly evaluate whole school and group-specific progress and report accurate, transparent, and timely information to board members, district leaders, and other stakeholders.
- MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) teams can proactively identify specific groups of students in need of targeted interventions and monitor progress on a regular basis.
- Special Education Directors and Case Managers can quickly and easily monitor the holistic progress of the students on their caseload.
- Deans of Culture can identify behavior trends by grade level and/or gender to create targeted interventions for student groups.
- Instructional Coaches can quickly identify GPA and course failure trends to determine courses and/or teachers in need of targeted support.
- Schools can designate special program indicators (ex: “Students who participate in the general classroom 40 – 79% of the day” or “Students in Reading Lab”) to track and measure student progress and program effectiveness.
- Teams could identify students who should receive individualized invitations to Parent-Teacher Conferences based on their at-risk status in one or more metrics.
We support you in supporting your students.
School leaders are tasked with operating under budgets not completely within their control, school calendars that have been set by district leaders, and/or with staff who have limited time and/or resources. With these potential restrictions, school leaders set big, audacious goals for their students. They need to be able to make targeted, transparent, and timely decisions throughout the school year in order to achieve those goals.
And the research is clear: having an early warning system3, like the At-Risk Dashboard, is a vital tool in a school leader’s toolbox to be able to make meaningful progress toward reducing student dropout rates and increasing student success.
1 Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools (ed.gov)
2 Dropout Prevention in the Time of COVID-19 (ed.gov)
3 ND PC-N | Meta-Analysis (dropoutprevention.org)