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Early Alert

Answer: The Early Alert program is dedicated to helping primarily first and second year students have a successful academic year.  

Answer: The college noticed very poor retention rates of our first year students.  In addition, a large number of freshmen students were on academic probation after their first semesters, and as a result were either dismissed or left Edgewood at the end of their first years.

Intervention was very difficult, as the original impromptu committee only had anecdotal information and word of mouth to determine which students were struggling.  Week Four Rosters and the committee's other tasks were created to assist with identifying our at risk population.

Answer: Students are often on Academic Probation due to poor decision making, including skipping classes, not turning in homework, and not taking responsibility for their actions.  These behaviors are much easier to fix earlier in the semester, rather than later.  Unfortunately, by the time these behaviors are noticed, it is often too late. 

Early Alert has created class rosters at four weeks in an attempt to identify freshmen students at risk from these detrimental behaviors.  At the end of week four of classes, you will receive an email with class rosters in your inbox with any students of freshman status listed.  We give you the names of ALL freshmen--not only those which are currently considered "at risk."  Any student has potential to do well--and also has potential to succumb to irresponsible behavior.

Instructors are asked to indicate whether students have missed more than two classes or turned in late work, and also asked to mark whether the student has received feedback on these behaviors. 

Early Alert then compile all of the information.  If students appear to have detrimental tendencies in two or more classes, the committee notifies the advisor.  

Answer: As an advisor, you have a relationship with the student, no matter how small it may seem.  In the end, if the student doesn't speak with you, you won't release the hold allowing them to register.  We have no such incentive for students and are often ignored.  Also, you may know of different circumstances that we are not aware.  It could be that the student was ill, and did not contact the instructor (or, that the instructor either forgot, or has an attendance policy that does not take illness into consideration).  If that is the case, it becomes the perfect time to remind first year students to check the syllabus for attendance policies, mention how to speak to an instructor, or refer the student to someone in Learning Support Services for an appointment.  Also, it is beneficial for you as the advisor to have this information in your student's file for a later date. 

Answer: Midterm Grades are usually distributed at the tenth week of classes.  The drop date is a mere two weeks later. By looking at midterm grades and comparing the information to that which we gathered at four weeks, we are able to see if the student is improving, staying the same, or is in a dangerous spot academically.  By moving quickly, we are able to notify advisors of issues that we see in time for the advisor to speak with the student before the drop date.  Although midterm grades are not "early" by any means, they are another tool to allow us to contact students and alert them to potential problems.  This notice can serve as the only notice to a student of problems. 

Students who were not showing problems at the beginning of the semester may not be aware of their difficulties until they see midterm grades.  Or, if a student drops from an "A" at the beginning of the semester to a "C" at midterms, the instructor may assume, often correctly, that the material was more difficult later in the course.  If this happens in all of the student's classes, it could point to personal difficulties that is affecting work.  Without this information, he or she could slip through the cracks and not return the following semester.

Answer: This sort of thing is difficult to quantify.  Freshman retention is up, which can be partially contributed to the work of Early Alert.  In addition to the academic work being done, we also makes observations and suggestions to other areas of campus, based on the information we receive.  We also have a lower percentage of freshmen leaving after their first semester, and a lower percentage of freshmen on Academic Probation.  Of the students eventually determined to be "at risk" as a result of Rosters, Midterm Grades, Academic Alert Notices, etc., on average 93% are in good standing by the end of the semester.  More importantly, we are aware of those who are not in good standing at the end of the semester, and have often made every attempt possible to alert the student to the situation.  There are fewer (if any) "surprises" on the academic probation lists. 

We have very rich anecdotal evidence, and testimonials from students who believe the intervention allowed them to stay in school and graduate.  Contact Maggie Balistreri-Clarke for more information on retention.

Answer: Our hope is that you continue to give valuable feedback early and often to all of your classes.  Please return rosters on time, and turn in midterm grades.  If you begin having problems with a student and are unsure how to deal with it, please contact Kasey DeWitt. You may be the only person to notice a student's struggle, and could mean the difference between success and failure for that student.  You are also strongly encouraged to send Academic Alert Notices if performance is dropping.    

Answer: Keep doing all of the things you would usually do as an advisor.  Early Alert will send you any information it collects regarding your advisees.  Many things you will have already noticed:  4-Week rosters, midterm grades, academic alert notices, etc.  Early Alert will continue to send alerts just in case you may have missed something.  And, things may come to the Early Alert quite possibly before they cross your desk. 

If you are unable to contact your advisee regarding these matters, please let Kasey DeWitt know!  We consider all information to be important, as it paints a picture of the student's progress--we would not be sending it (or even collecting it) if we did not feel it important to do so.  If you are unable to contact or are unsuccessful in meeting with your advisee, please contact Kasey DeWitt, and she will attempt to make contact. 

If you were able to contact your advisee, we also ask that you close the loop and let us know.  You do not need to share details, but we would like you to tell us that the student was contacted, and the outcome (you met with the student, made a plan, misunderstanding with instructor, made referrals, things are okay, things will be okay, etc).

The Early Alert system is one of your resources as an advisor.  If you are uncertain what to do in a specific situation, contact us!