Pearson Launches Early Warning System for At-Risk Students

More than 1.2 million students drop out of high school each year, according to reports from the National Center for Education Statistics. For an economic superpower with a renewed commitment to education reform, this is a sobering figure. In an effort to help schools combat the decision by at-risk students simply to "give up" and drop out, Pearson has launched Prevent, a data-driven software system designed to give early-warning alerts to educators and administrators that a student is in danger of falling through the cracks and allow them to intervene in the areas necessary.

The primary function of the software is to collect data from a student information system (SIS) and analyze the data for indicators that a particular student may be at risk. A spokesperson for Pearson said a high school guidance counselor serves an average of 479 students, rendering the prospect of giving all students equal attention fairly close to impossible. By having Prevent do the "leg work" and keep track of student issues from a data standpoint, counselors and teachers can easily learn who requires special attention in certain areas, and they have additional time to devote to these students.

"Before Prevent, educators would invest their time with obvious at-risk students and practice random acts of guidance with the others," Frederick Navarro, assistant superintendent, Anaheim Union High School District in Anaheim, CA, that has used the Prevent product (in its testing phase) for nearly two years. "With the click of a mouse, we can now make strategic decisions about how to save students from dropping out, and we can ensure that no students slip through the cracks."

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.