Early Warning Systems to Improve Student Outcomes

ESSA places substantial control for efforts to turn around the lowest performing high schools in the hands of districts and states. Compared to the prior Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, there is significant leeway given to states and districts, yet ESSA is very specific in terms of ensuring that students graduate from high school and that schools use evidence-based practices to support school turnaround. ESSA requires that states identify any high school that has a graduation rate lower than 67 percent as low performing. Furthermore, the use of an early warning system (EWS) is an evidence-based practice used by schools throughout the country to support improving high school graduation rates.

AIR supports states, districts, and schools with the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of EWS initiatives. AIR EWS experts have developed tools and guidance and conducted research following a seven-step, research-based process that allows educators and school leaders to monitor student achievement and intervene early and often to improve high school graduation. Our EWS experts have worked with school, district, and state staff in more than 100 districts in more than 30 states, and we have expertise in building, implementing, and evaluating EWS initiatives.

Our work positions us as experts in the following areas:

  • Selecting appropriate early warning indicators for your local context
  • Implementing early warning interventions and monitoring systems
  • Creating EWS implementation support materials
  • Assessing and improving your EWS program
Jenny Scala headshot
Managing Director
Susan Therriault
Institute Fellow