Early Warning Systems

Florida Schools Use Early Warning System To Identify At-Risk Students

Florida school districts now have access to digital tools designed to help them identify the early warning signals that students may need additional support to improve academic performance or stay in school.

New Florida state laws dictate that all schools that include students in grades 6-8 must implement an early warning system to identify such students. Performance Matters, a company that provides digital assessment tools, has come up with an early warning system that will integrate with its Unify assessment platform.

School districts in Indian River, Brevard and Marion counties have already signed on to the system.

According to new state requirements, when a student in grades 6-8 triggers any two of the following indicators, a school-based team must convene to decide on an intervention strategy:

  • Attendance below 90 percent;
  • Suspension;
  • Course failure; and
  • Level 1 score on state tests in English or math.

Performance Matters' system is a customizable reporting module that districts can use to filter in their own policies on attendance rates, absences, truancies, behavior, GPA targets, course failure, retention and standardized test performance. Educators can then use the measures to quickly find the at-risk students, monitor their progress and possibly take action.

"In the past, we would've had to go to four different systems to get this information," said Brian McMahon, a performance data analyst with the School District of Indian River County. "Now it's in one system. When you can see this data side by side, it's very eye-opening."

The Indian River County district has already used the digital platform to launch a system-wide initiative to improve attendance.

"We've already seen increases in student attendance in every school and grade level," McMahon said.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.