Massachusetts educators have a lot to be proud of: our students continually outrank other states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); our four-year graduation rate has increased for the eleventh consecutive year; and the high school dropout rate is at its lowest point on record. Despite these achievements, however, there are large and persistent gaps in proficiency, graduation rates and college engagement across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts educators have important work ahead to prepare all students for success, both in high school and after high school. EWIS is one tool that DESE provides to districts for this work.
Massachusetts EWIS, or Early Warning Indicator System, systematically identifies students at risk of missing an important academic milestone. With attendance rates, behavior incidents, course performance and other valuable data, EWIS predicts a student's level of risk [or likelihood] of missing [or not reaching] a milestone, absent interventions.
The Massachusetts EWIS identifies students at risk across the academic trajectory, from early elementary through postsecondary success. For students in grades 10–12 there are four risk levels: high school graduation and three outcomes of college success.
However, the risk levels are not a 'life sentence' - and should not be used to place students into a particular academic track or to lower academic expectations. Educators can develop targeted interventions, allowing students to follow a path to success. Using EWIS in combination with local data and context, educators can explore underlying factors leading to academic risk and respond early, meeting the unique strengths and needs of their students. This approach may lead to interventions at the individual, small group, and whole school or district-wide levels.
Research is clear that a variety of factors contribute to a student's likelihood of reaching academic goals. EWIS is a starting point; using EWIS in a data-driven cycle of inquiry, educators can influence a student's academic trajectory by intervening early. EWIS data and tools - in conjunction with local context and interventions - can help prepare more students for success.
More resources are available on the EWIS website or contact EWIS@doe.mass.edu.
Last Updated: July 25, 2018
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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