Schools collect student data on a regular basis. At times, it can be difficult to cut through the volume of information and understand who is at risk and for what reason, and to track what is being done about it. In fact, educators can hone in on key indicators to identify which students are showing signs of academic risk throughout the school year.
Research shows that ABC's — attendance, behavior & course performance — are particularly powerful indicators of students' academic risk (Allensworth & Easton, 2005; Balfanz, Herzog & MacIver, 2007). Examining these at regular intervals (two, three or four times a year) and comparing them to thresholds allow educators to identify students if they begin to go off track. Catching changes in student risk right away and assigning programmatic supports can bring students back on track quickly.
This practice of monitoring ABCs can help districts and schools identify trends in student needs, and make recommendations for school-wide improvements such as changes in schedules, curriculum, or instructional approaches.
Monitoring strategies and tools can be simple or complex. The best tools are any that are used to impact students. The department has developed several resources for monitoring student risk.
Developing an Early Warning Monitoring SystemShort instructional video about setting up an early warning monitoring system to monitor student risk and adjust supports
Monitoring Students' Risk throughout the YearHandout with tips for setting up an early warning monitoring system
Monitoring ToolThis is a pilot tool. Please email EWIS@doe.mass.edu if you have any issues or questions. Excel-based tool to combine students' EWIS Risk Levels with other data, assign students to interventions and update this throughout the year(See Data File Templates at the bottom of this page.)
Using the EWIS Monitoring ToolShort instructional video about DESE's Monitoring Tool
Using the EWIS Monitoring ToolQuick reference guide about DESE's Monitoring Tool
EWIS Monitoring Tool Guidance DocumentDocument for use alongside the Monitoring Tool
EWIS Monitoring Report Guidance DocumentThis report in Edwin provides students' attendance and number of suspensions for the current school year as reported via SIF. It has been updated for the 2020-21 school year to include overall attendance, in-person attendance and remote attendance information.
Monitoring student risk throughout the year is an important part of a data-driven cycle of inquiry. Whereas EWIS reports show a snapshot students' risk of missing academic milestones at the beginning of the school year, ongoing monitoring updates the picture of student risk for more responsive interventions.
The template data files below illustrate the format for loading student enrollment, EWIS and ABCs files into the monitoring tool. See the Monitoring Tool and Monitoring Tool Guidance Document for more.
Student enrollment file
ABCs file for early check
ABCs file for grading period 1
ABCs file for grading periods 2 and beyond
If you need an alternate version of this material, please contact Jennifer.E.Appleyard@mass.gov .
Last Updated: October 28, 2020
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