WWC review of this study

Getting Students on Track for Graduation: Impacts of the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System after One Year. REL 2017-272

Faria, Ann-Marie; Sorensen, Nicholas; Heppen, Jessica; Bowdon, Jill; Taylor, Suzanne; Eisner, Ryan; Foster, Shandu (2017). Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED573814

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: September 2022

Does not meet WWC standards

Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: March 2019

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Progressing in school outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Sufficient credits earned to stay on-track for graduation

Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
24,949 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 3% English language learners

  • Female: 49%
    Male: 51%


The study was conducted in three states in the midwestern U.S. A total of 73 high schools across 64 school districts participated.

Study sample

For the sample for which the outcome was measured 40% were eligible for the frederal school lunch program (40% of treatment and 40% of control students). For the overall sample, 48.85% were female (of n=37541), 24.67% were of racial/ethnic minority status (of n=37,545), 13.29% were in special education (of n=30,482), and 2.99% were English learner students (of n=30,481).

Intervention Group

The study examined the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) intervention. EWIMS is a school-wide intervention that aims to increase on-time high school graduation and reduce dropping out. The study examined the effects of EWIMS during the 2014-15 school year, the first year of full implementation at intervention schools. Intervention schools were provided with a software tool that used student data to identify students at risk of not graduating on time, recommends interventions for those students that may get them back on track, and reports on changes in student outcomes following intervention. Student data were loaded into the software in the spring and summer before full implementation. As marking period grades became available during the implementation year, these data were also added. School-assigned EWIMS teams were expected to meet monthly to examine attendance and academic data and assign at-risk students to appropriate interventions. Survey data from intervention school leaders in spring of the full implementation year showed that 87% of intervention schools had used an early warning system. Regarding specific components of the EWIMS process, 76% of intervention schools reviewed attendance data at least monthly and 53% reviewed course failure data at least monthly.

Comparison Group

Schools in the comparison condition operated business as usual. Survey data from leaders in comparison schools showed that 10% used an early warning system during the study, 88% reviewed attendance data at least monthly, and 42% reviewed course failure data at least monthly.

Support for implementation

Training on the use of the EWIMS tool was provided in spring of the school year prior to implementation and was followed up by refresher training early in the implementation school year. Support site visits were available to intervention schools three times during the implementation school year, and five interactive webinars were held with the expectation that one or more members from each intervention school would participate to share their successes and challenges. Remote technical assistance was also available to intervention schools on an on-going basis.


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