Putting Student Data To The Test To Identify Struggling Kids

Posted by on April 21, 2014

Using early warnings to turn around lives

At Miami Carol City Senior High in Florida, a handful of teachers, administrators, and coaches, as well as analysts from Talent Development Secondary, which monitors student data; City Year, a nonprofit that provides mentors; and Communities in Schools, which connects kids with health care and social services, all convene weekly to discuss kids on a downward trend, reports Sammy Mack for NPR. The kids are flagged based on attendance, behavior, and performance in math and English. The team discusses potential options and strategies for helping the student, an interaction between different departments that didn’t happen before the program started three years ago. The program, Diplomas Now, identifies 150 to 200 students a year at Carol City and costs about $600 per student annually. Last year, one-third of students flagged for missing school got back on track to graduation. Two-thirds of students having behavioral problems made a turnaround. “The point of all this isn’t to collect data. It’s to change what’s happening for individual kids,” says Paige Kowalski of the Data Quality Campaign. Kowalski says about 20 states have developed early-warning systems like the one at Carol City. Schools, she says, can learn a lot from the medical field: “[They] don’t just put out reports saying, ‘The hospital lost all these patients and saved these people.’ They look at data and say, ‘What can we do better?'” More


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