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Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS)

Massachusetts educators do not have to wait for students to fail to know they are at risk. They can step in sooner with EWIS.

With the Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS), the state provides tools for districts to identify students who are at risk of not meeting important academic goals to help students get back on track. This comprehensive system spans first grade through high school graduation and beyond.

Using the EWIS tools alongside local context, educators can explore underlying causes leading to academic risk and develop additional supports to meet the unique strengths and needs of their students.

Hear counselors, school administrators, superintendents, and others describe the value of using EWIS.

EWIS Milestones  Download Excel Document
Use this report to understand how many students are meeting important academic milestones.
EWIS e-newsletter

ResourcesEarly Warning Starter KitUsing the Early Warning
Implementation Cycle to Create
Student-centered Supports
Building an EWIS Community
You are: … new to using EWIS or would like a refresher. … comfortable with EWIS basics; you want to understand students' strengths and needs, and meet them with targeted interventions in a reflective cycle. … an EWIS fan, and you want to strengthen the use of EWIS at your school or district.
You might be interested in: Quick Takes —
Early Warning Implementation Cycle Tutorial

Step 3:
Using DESE's Early Warning Implementation Cycle to Explore Underlying Causes of Risk Watch Video

Step 5:
Monitoring Student Risk throughout the School Year

Ten districts were awarded grants to enhance EWIS and data use for one year. See highlights and examples of their work.

Early Warning Implementation Guide Download PDF Document

Appendix A (November 2017) Download Word Document

Postsecondary Risks, Appendix D (September 2017) Download Word Document


What it is & what it isn't Download PDF Document

Why use EWIS?

Massachusetts EWIS Ensures All Students Reach Goals Watch Video

Using the Early Warning Implementation Cycle in High Schools Watch Video

Using the K12 EWIS Reports in Edwin Watch Video

EWIS Data Use Webinar Series

Using EWIS in the context of Educator Evaluation Download Word Document

To understand the context of your district or school even better, use EWIS alongside several tools and short instructional videos.

EWIS Milestones: Use this report to understand how many students are meeting important academic milestones statewide, for schools and districts, and by subgroups.
Using DESE's College Readiness tools: With these short instructional videos about DESE's data tools, find enrollment, dropout, graduation and college success trends and early warning risk data for your current and former students.
Analysis of Dropout Data for 2018: This Excel workbook is designed for analyzing characteristics of students who have dropped out of school in the 2017-18 school year.
District Analysis & Review Tools (DART):With these Excel tools, users can explore district & school performance over time. In particular, the Success after High School DART is an Excel tool showing secondary and postsecondary trends over time. (use with CCR Video Part 1)
Using the FAFSA Completion Reports Download Word DocumentThis guidance document explains several Edwin reports designed for users to examine FAFSA completion status.
Using the Workforce Employment and Earnings Report Download Word DocumentThis guidance document explains an Edwin report designed for users to examine Massachusetts workforce employment and earnings trends.
The ABCs of Success in High School and BeyondThis data story provides information for parents, community members, and educators from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on how attendance, behavior, and course performance in Massachusetts high schools affect postsecondary outcomes.

Where does EWIS come from?

6 Step Early Warning Implementation Cycle: Step 1- Get Organized; Step 2- Review EWIS Data;  Summer/Beginning of School Year; Step 3- Explore Underlying Causes; Step 4- Take Action Repeat throughout the School Year; Step 5- Monitor Students and Interventions; Step 6- Refine the Process End of School Year/Summer.

'We identi?ed two areas to begin the work in: math and attendance.'

'If we see that an intervention isn't having an effect, we try something else.'

'First quarter failures are down from last year by quite a bit.'

'These kids were at risk of dropping out — now they're talking about rooming together in college.'

'We used EWIS risk to narrow in on 30 students and understand attendance more deeply.'

'We're assigning success mentors, related to students' tardies and attendance.'

'We can at least make sure that each High Risk student has an adult who's connecting with them — looking out for them — every day.'

If you need an alternate version of this material, please contact

Last Updated: September 6, 2019
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