EWIS News from DESE's Office for College, Career and Technical Education
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EWIS WORKSHOP
We were inspired and excited to have educators from across the state join us for the recent EWIS Workshop. Elementary school leaders, college/career center specialists, guidance counselors and superintendents ... we rolled up our sleeves and pulled up EWIS reports to see students in a new light. In case you missed it - or hoped to join more than one breakout group - read on for a few highlights. We hope you will find this useful, and as always, thank you for all that you do.
Choose any that are right for you: get comfortable with using EWIS reports, explore new tools for monitoring students' risk and discuss strategies for adjusting student supports throughout the school year.
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Are you supporting school leaders who are new to using EWIS? One district data leader makes her principals an EWIS packet with a few essentials. The packet helps them prioritize when understanding the data and developing student supports. An EWIS packet might include:
Track Students' Risk this Year with ABCs
EWIS tells us who is at risk at the beginning of the year. But students’ risk may change during the school year, and an updated view is helpful when assigning and adjusting student-centered supports over the school year. The ABC's — attendance, behavior & course performance — are particularly powerful indicators of students' academic risk. Examining these at regular intervals (two, three or four times a year) and comparing them to thresholds allow educators to identify students if they begin to go off track. Catching changes in student risk right away and assigning programmatic supports may bring students back on track quickly.
There are many ways to do this, and tools or strategies can be simple or complex: use attendance only, or all three; do this within a student information system or in a spreadsheet, and individually or in collaboration with a team. The 'best' strategy is one that works for the user and impacts students. The Department has developed several resources to assist educators in monitoring student risk and gathered these on the new EWIS Monitoring website.
One new resource is the EWIS Monitoring Tool. With this, educators can combine students’ EWIS risk levels with data from other sources and assign students to interventions at the beginning of the year. Then throughout the year, educators can incorporate students' updated attendance, behavior and course performance for review alongside EWIS risk, and periodically adjust student supports. This is a complement to EWIS reports in Edwin, which snapshot students’ risk at the beginning of the school year.
Root causes are statements that describe the deepest underlying cause or causes of a performance challenge. They are the causes that, if dissolved, would result in elimination or substantial reduction of a performance challenge. Root causes describe why the performance challenges exist, and are the things that most need to change and can change. Root causes are not student attributes (such as poverty level or student motivation), but rather relate to adult behavior and are within the school or district’s control. Root causes become the focus of improvement strategies. (1)
Understand and Improve Students' Readiness for College
Nationwide, nearly all jobs created since 2010 have gone to workers with at least some college education, while those with a high school diploma or less are being left behind (2), illustrating that postsecondary choices are as important as completing high school. Yet there are deep gaps in college-going patterns across Massachusetts. With the postsecondary EWIS reports, counselors, school leaders and others can see exactly who is at risk of missing three important college readiness milestones, starting when students are in the 10th grade. For more about DESE's postsecondary data tools, see part 4 and 5 at this link and watch for more in the October e-newsletter.
The series starts with an optional introductory webinar in October. An in-person half-day workshop on Oct. 25 is the anchor of the series. Participants will learn how to use the EWIS reports to examine students’ risk details and begin to identify underlying causes of risk. Optional webinars and virtual learning opportunities continue over the year, where participants share strategies and tools, celebrate successes, and troubleshoot challenges. The series ends with an optional Data Showcase event in the spring. Collect your findings and reflections into a data project to earn 15 PDPs and the College and Career Data Usage credential. Register at the link: College and Career Data Usage Certificate .
Now is the perfect time for an early look at students' attendance rates if it hasn't happened yet in your building. If students are already missing several days of school (10% of school days for high school students, or 20% for younger students) this may be time to investigate and intervene. See tips from Attendance Works to help cultivate good attendance habits.