You may be intrigued to know the inner workings of college academics and their early alert systems to identify students who are at-risk of failing their classes. It’s a monster of a collaborative project, and yet for larger universities this can really make or break student success.
So, what is early alert? What I can tell you it’s not is an act of shaming student’s around their current academic performance. That’s the last thing we’re saying. Early alert is a student retention initiative that bridges Academic Affairs with Student Affairs to assist students in getting connected to appropriate support services to ensure they pass their classes. This early alert typically occurs mid-October, when professors submit current grades at a time in a semester when students are identified as having a D or F. It does not guarantee a student will pass or fail a class, it’s just meant to be a gentle warning bell for the student that the track they’re on, unless changed, does not look academically successful. This is all based on analytics and statistics.
Now, each university does this differently. There are a couple common ways this could look though.
What we would tell you is the students who attended the event and followed through with their plan were more likely to be turn their academic experience around. For the students who didn’t respond to the outreach or didn’t follow through the plan they created they were more likely to earn a D or F for the class.
For students who were in multiple classes and identified as having three or more D/Fs through Early Alert additionally received a phone call. As you can imagine, most students didn’t answer the call or return the voicemail. Why? It’s easier to ignore the professionals trying to assertively help me and just keep my head down and study harder than it is to accept the help that’s being offered. A lot of those students ended up in my office the follow semester because they ended up on Academic Probation. Talk about a much harder spot to be!
As a parent, if you have the FERPA waiver signed and can access your young adult’s grades, it’s important to check in with your student to make sure they aren’t currently failing a class. If they have been getting emails about Early Alert, it’s because the track they’re will lead them to being unsuccessful academically. They need to take those emails seriously, or potentially risk failing that class/those classes. As a parent, you can’t make them go or change their academic habits. But being informed about this initiative on campus may help you in helping your young adult be academically successful their first semester.
For more information, check out my post on Lilley Consulting Facebook page.
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