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A Look at the Early Alert System. A. Craig Dixon Madisonville Community College http://www.madisonville.kctcs.edu/facstaf/cdixon/ New Horizons Teaching and Learning Conference. Motivation.

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a look at the early alert system

A Look at theEarly Alert System

A. Craig Dixon

Madisonville Community College


New Horizons Teaching and Learning Conference

  • Research consistently shows that early alert programs increase student success rates through retention, higher GPA, and credentials earned.
  • Furthermore, success during the freshman year has been shown to correlate with increased success over the course of the student’s entire academic career.
    • This amplifies the community college’s responsibility to the student and community.
  • Develop strategies to enhance student success through:
    • Documenting student concerns at specific intervals throughout the term
    • Notifying appropriate support services efficiently
    • Intervening in time to help the student effectively address concerns

Desired outcomes of an early-alert system

  • Increase course completion rates
  • Increase student retention (fall to fall semesters)
  • Increase success based on GPA
  • Increase number of transfer students
  • Increase number of graduates
  • Increase success of students in subsequent courses
checkpoint 1 advising
Checkpoint 1: Advising
  • Assess student needs.
  • Require placement testing.
  • Ensure appropriate course placement through effective advising.
early alert web form
Early Alert Web Form
  • Checkpoints 2 through 5 rely on a web form.
    • Available year-round
    • Composed of checkboxes with comment sections
    • Creates a uniform reporting process fulfilling the needs of all departments
    • Delivers information to appropriate support services in a timely manner
using the web form step 1
Using the Web Form: Step 1
  • Faculty access the Early Alert form and report concerns observed. (Excessive absence/tardiness, incomplete or poorly completed assignments, poor test performance, non-academic distractions, etc.)
    • Although many individuals play a crucial role, the most important factor in the success of the Early Alert system is faculty and their utilization of the process.
using the web form step 2
Using the Web Form: Step 2
  • The system generates an email a copy of the submitted information to key student support personnel.
    • Learning Center (tutoring and computing services, study skills, etc.)
    • Counseling Center
    • Financial Aid (for return to Title IV)
    • Disability resources
    • Career pathways (Nursing and Allied Health student services)
    • TRIO Student Support Services (midterm reporting)
using the web form step 3
Using the Web Form: Step 3
  • The various student support services respond according to a pre-defined action plan.
  • Action steps may include:
    • Email
    • Telephone contact
    • Postal mail
    • In-person follow-up
the process illustrated
The Process Illustrated


Early Alert System



Financial Aid







checkpoint 2 1 st week of class
Checkpoint 2: 1st Week of Class
  • Documents class attendance for return to Title IV reporting
  • Helps clarify student schedules
  • Allows early referrals to Disability Resources
checkpoint 3 three week report
Checkpoint 3: Three Week Report
  • Allows early intervention before most classes administer the first exam
checkpoint 4 mid term report
Checkpoint 4: Mid Term Report
  • Used by TRIO Student Support Services for reporting and intervention
  • Indicates to the student that they may need to re-evaluate their present success in the course and suggest alternative resources or courses of action
checkpoint 5 ongoing
Checkpoint 5: Ongoing
  • The web form provides reporting at any point during the semester, allowing the instructor to document an attempt to intervene on behalf of the student
  • Additionally, the Counseling Center periodically distributes information regarding available services and resources throughout the semester
checkpoint 6 end of semester
Checkpoint 6: End of Semester
  • Analyze term grades to identify students who:
    • Performed poorly in a single class
      • These students may be experiencing difficulty in a particular discipline and can be referred to appropriate services.
    • Performed poorly overall during the term
      • These students may have poor academic habits or have experienced non-academic distractions during the term.
  • Increased student awareness of support services
  • Streamlined reporting processes
  • Indicated to the student that the college is concerned about their success
  • Made the student accountable for his or her own success
  • Coordinated the delivery of a variety of student services
evaluation and improvement
Evaluation and Improvement
  • Solicit faculty feedback on success of initiative
  • Monitor usage of the system
  • Provide professional development focused on improving awareness of the process and related student support services
  • Evaluate and implement proposed improvements.