ADVANCING RESEARCH, IMPROVING EDUCATION
About the Early Warning Data System (EWDS)
EWDS Tool Specifications
Application name: Early Warning Data System Tool Platform: Windows XP, Windows 7, Mac OSX Current Version: 2.2.1 | What's new in v.2.2.1?
Release Date: September, 2011
License: Freeware/non-commercial use only
Eric Waters - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Early Warning Data System (EWDS) Tool was originally developed by the National High School Center (NHSC) at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to calculate automatically the high-yield indicators related to dropout. With permission of and in collaboration with the NHSC, the Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) at SEDL adapted the EWDS to produce a customized database version of the tool called the Early Warning Data System (EWDS). The EWDS consists not only of the database tool, but also several imbedded component systems: Working as a collaborative team, Creating individual, group, and school-wide data reports, Designing successful interventions, and Verifying student success based on implementation and impact data.
The TXCC first designed the EWDS to be used by districts participating in the Texas Ninth Grade Transition and Intervention Program (TNGTI), a pilot program of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The program is intended to provide support for eighth grade students who are transitioning to the ninth grade and who are at risk of low performance and/or failure. The EWDS is freely available at http://txcc.sedl.org/resources/ewst/ and can be used for any additional applications by interested schools and districts.
The tool tracks research-based ninth-grade indicators related to high school dropout, such as attendance and academics, and automatically flags students who are below the specified benchmarks leading to graduation. It provides leading indicators so that school staff can quickly review data and plan interventions as early as 20 to 30 days after the beginning of the school year. Additional data points are incorporated at each grading period and at the end of the year to allow for intervention planning for summer or the beginning of the following year.
Responding to feedback received from EWDS users, the TXCC has modified the tool so that behavior referrals may now be tracked as well. However, due to the diversity of behavior codes and procedures found in high schools across the state of Texas—and the United States—there are no research-defined thresholds for this indicator. In addition, most of these students are identified through the attendance and course-performance indicators.
A strong and unique component of the EWDS is its ability to track a student’s progress during the intervention period as well as for the rest of the year. This allows staff to recognize quickly when an intervention is not having the desired effect and to adjust it to ensure student success.
The customized database application also provides both pre-defined and custom reports showing which students are below the defined benchmark for each of the indicators. The information generated by this tool is based on the school’s readily available data regarding student academic performance and attendance.
Is the EWDS Tool Research-Based?
The EWDS Tool is based on research conducted by the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University on the identification of potential high school dropouts. The research identified several indicators that were correlated to high school dropout including low grades in core classes, poor attendance, failure to be promoted to the next grade, and disengagement in the classroom.
Kennelly L., & Monrad, M. (2007). Approaches to dropout prevention: Heeding early warning signs with appropriate interventions. Washington, DC: National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from http://www.betterhighschools.org/docs/NHSC_ApproachestoDropoutPrevention.pdf
For an overview of research findings that determine how the EWDS Tool flags "at-risk" students, see the NHSC’s Early Warning Systems Guide and Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs with Appropriate Interventions.
Webinar and Resources
An archived webinar that presents an overview of the EWDS for ESCs is available for viewing along with related resources. Texas education service centers and other intermediate agencies should find this webinar useful in helping districts and high schools learn more about the EWDS or increase the "buy-in" for the system among staff members.
In addition to an overview, centers and agencies should consider offering a hands-on, one-day session to share additional experiences with the tool and the component systems needed for interventions. This will increase the knowledge and skills of the participants.
However, it should be noted that sustained success using the EWDS is seldom accomplished in a single day. Users should also be provided with continuing support as staff implement interventions using data, verify the implementation and impact of the actions, and adjust the interventions regularly as needed.
Due to technical difficulties during the recording of the webinar, two demonstrations of resources available on the Internet are not visible when the webinar is viewed. The first is the EWDS online help system. This resource may be viewed by clicking the question mark in the EWDS tool as you are using it. The entire 34-page booklet is also included in the list of resources for downloading, below.
The second visibility problem occurs when the "Help: Resources for Intervention Strategies" screen in the EWDS tool is demonstrated. The first of those resources, Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs with Appropriate Interventions, was opened during the webinar but it does not show up in the recording.
Along with the webinar, the resources listed below are available. It is suggested that the first six resources be downloaded and reviewed during the webinar:
- Thumbnails of the PowerPoint slides
- EWDS flyer
- DIVA cards
- Intervention examples
- Darrell card
- Online Help booklet—a 34-page document to assist with use of the EWDS Tool. It is also online and includes tutorials.
- PowerPoint presentation
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