Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

An Early Warning System (EWS): Identifying Students Early So They Can Succeed

by Dr. Laura C. Moran

Early Warning Systems: Early warning systems are becoming increasingly used by schools to track behaviors and/or “early warning indicators” that are strongly correlated with risk of dropout and subsequent failure to graduate from high school. Current research suggests that socio-economic, minority and disability status impact upon graduation rates and a successful post-secondary transition. Specifically, high school dropouts are more likely to be poor, minority and male. Attendance, behavior, and course completion continue to be consistently strong predictors; course success may ultimately be the best predictor of graduation.

The use of early warning systems has led to comprehensive secondary school improvement efforts, including the adoption and implementation of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS). Pennsylvania educators are working systematically and systemically to meet the needs of all students toward increased graduation rates and post-secondary success.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Dashboard Early Warning System (EWS) is a free, voluntary tool available to all commonwealth LEAs. Building upon existing data, the EWS provides a way for schools to identify students at risk of dropping out, review and implement the appropriate interventions and supports to assist students, and set goals for students in order to improve their success rates in graduating and completing high school.

For more information about the EWS check out the following sites:

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