“This very real risk of losing our direction and failing to reach out desired destination should motivate us to be disciplined and deliberative when planning our action research, our planned exploration of a not-yet-visible destination (Sagor, 2011, p. 31).
It is important to remember the path we have traveled and where we still have to go. So far, we covered the concept of motivation and its’ impact on student persistence. Our training targets involve both performance targets and process targets. We are looking to improve awareness on postsecondary motivation, engagement, goal-setting, and achievement so that in the end dropout tendencies are better understood. Even more, following each training session, the components of an early warning system is being created by the participants. The literature review conducted on postsecondary student attrition and early warning systems informed this project so that in the end an early warning system that detects dropout tendencies in applied into practice. Each week, I will engaged in the four stages of an action research process – “envisioning success, clarifying a theory, collecting data while implementing theory, and reflecting on results obtained” (Sagor, 2011, p. 61).
In unit one, project participants were introduced to the larger purpose of the overall project. The training targets were introduced and the concept of an Early Warning System is considered. The drivers of attrition of particular concern to this project were explained, of which, the first was reviewed – Motivation. In our sixty minute face-to-face discussion, we began the process of separating extrinsic motivation from intrinsic motivation. We also explored a text book definition of motivation. And, we talked about instrument goals as a means for driving motive. Lastly, learners were introduced to the online discussion platform and the case presentation that we will reference for the next nine weeks. In unit two, participants were introduced to concepts of student engagement. Following unit two, participants were expected to be able to list at least one definition of student engagement; weigh the benefits of student engagement on persistence; adjust their ‘teaching strategies’ to support engagement. Key words were introduced: involved, interested, and connected. Participants were introduced to the literature on engagement and they were told: decreased engagement translates into increased dropout rates. Finally, participants were directed to www.EduOs.net to address the online discussion questions related to student engagement.
Unit three dealt with goal-setting and the use of Futuring techniques. Following this unit, learners are expected to be able to diagram steps that may be used to set realistic goals (by students); define Futuring techniques; explain the benefits to Futuring as it relates to student persistence. Finally, participants were directed to www.EduOs.net to address the online discussion questions related to goal-setting and futuring.
Obviously, while in college, learners are expected to demonstrate a mastery of skills and formation on knowledge. Quite often, instructors rely on attendance (participation) and grades (assessment) as a means to an end; a sign of growth. However, achievement is much more complex than simply numerical outcomes occurring over time. The vectors of development, as suggested by Chickering, provide a roadmap that instructors may use to gauge achievement. But, even more than this, instructors can plan to construct meaningful learning activities that assist a learner in developing Chickering’s stages of psycho-social development.
What does it take to persist through to graduation? How can faculty attitudes about attrition, retention and persistence influence outcomes? The article titled Attrition and Retention in the Nursing Major: Understanding Persistence in Beginning Nursing Students, written by Margaret Williams, is a study that looks at areas that effect student persistence in a four-year nursing program at one college. The author of this article speaks about four particular themes to persistence that is revealed by the study. According to Williams, “The first three themes, Keeping Up, Not Giving Up, and Doing It, refer to a mindset, or self-talk. The fourth theme, Connecting, refers to the use of resources” (2010, p. 364). Williams, in talking about each of these themes, continually suggests that a student’s mindset significantly determines factors in discovering ways to navigate the challenging areas of learning, and that student persistence in program may be influenced by the study participants self-accounts who committed to continuing through to graduation – regardless of challenges faced. Theme one, Keeping Up – deals with the time management aspects of being successful. “Keeping up emerged as a positive way of handling all the things that need to be done” (Williams, 2010, p. 364). Theme two, Not Giving Up – is a mantra that gets repeated to overcome self-defeating attitudes. “Students acknowledged having a dual and contradictory viewpoint, that both negative and positive mindsets coexist” (Williams, 2012, p. 364). Theme three, Doing It, helps to underscore the importance of self-motivating behaviors that support successful achievement of goals. In this case, creating an attitude to persevere in the face of great challenge pays off in the end. According to Williams, (2010) “…the mindset of persisting and the actual act of persisting” are related to each other. And, finally, theme four, Connecting, deals with the relationships that are built during college that foster a “can-do” attitude. “Student’s describe the multiple ways they persist by connecting with others, starting with family and extending to friends (2010, p. 364). The author of this article takes the position that, a better understanding of the drivers of attrition can only help to prepare colleges and students respond with actionable behaviors. An examination of possible root causes helps to reveal a foundation upon which discussions may occur. For example, “In a quantitative study, Gardner (2006) found that student who received explicit teaching toward goal mastery persisted in their work on challenging class assignments” (Williams, 2010, p. 366). This thoughtful approach to dealing with perceived obstacles has, at the very least, drawn attention to issues related to persistence. “The common lived experiences revealed in this project will inform faculty and college support services of ways to create student-centered learning environments and thus foster retention in the nursing discipline” (Williams, 2010, p. 363).
An Early Warning Systems is a tool that is used by school staff and faculty to predict which students are likely to progress (or persist) in program and which students might dropout ("K-12 research on," 2011). Another definition on Early Warning Systems (EWS) is provided by Davis, Herzog, & Legters (2013), who state, “An early warning system is an intentional process whereby school personnel collectively analyze student data to monitor students at risk for falling off track for graduation and to provide the interventions and resources to intervene”. Both descriptions indicate that data needs to be evaluated and action needs to be taken.
1. L O U I S C A B U H A T , D E A N O F E D U C A T I O N
UNIT SEVEN: EARLY WARNING
SYSTEMS (PART ONE)
2. “If you don‟t know where you are
going, any road will get you there”
- Richard S. Sagor
Connecting Your Actions to the Target
3. • Performance Targets (INDIVIDUAL
• Ask yourself, “What are students expected to
gain from our „actions”?
• Improved motivation √
• Improved engagement √
• Realistic goal-setting √
• Improved achievement √
• Process Targets (TECHNIQUES or
• Development of an Early Warning System
4. • Unit One dealt with
• Motivation is driven by emotion
According to Chickering (2006),
“motivation is the key to persistence,
moving through successfully, and learning
that lasts” (p. 13).
• Unit two dealt with
Learners who are Involved, Interested and
Connected are more likely to persist.
RECAP: THE PATH TAKEN
5. • Unit three dealt with
“Learners who are unable to form positive
motivational “attitudes” towards goal
fulfillment are at greater risk of dropping from
(Morrow & Ackermann, 2012)
6. • Unit Four dealt with
• Chickering‟s Nonlinear Stages of Development
7. • Unit Five dealt with
“Technology enables students to
accomplish more than they could without
the use of technology” (Heafner, 2004, p. 48).
Unit six dealt with
• Creating a mindset
• Keep Up!
• Not Giving Up
• Doing It!
• Adopting a universal framework
9. HERE IS THE ACTION PLAN THAT YOU
CAME UP WITH IN UNIT SIX
SW OT AnalysisTemplate:
Problem: I have astudent (Susan) that hasdemonstrated apattern of waningmotivation, engagement, goal-settingand achievement. I amgoingto use what I know
to try to turn thissituation around
Anchored to Motivation
1) It appearsthat Susan 'IS' capable of finishingassignmentson-time (ML)
2) Susan hasdemonstrated awillingnessto communicate (with peers) (ML)
3) It'spromisingthat Susan hasdecided to meet with her advisor (JJ)
4) It appearsthat Susan hasthe support of her parents(albeit financially) (ML)
Anchored to Engagement
1) Susan might have issueswith managingher time (ML)
2) Susan may not have discovered her desire to be in the program(JJ)
3) Susan may not be truly motivated for the right reasons(MH)
4) The College staff may not have collected the right information on Susan from
the start (AE)
Anchored to Goal-setting
1) If Susan'scontinue to pay her way through life, she won't create any
responsibilitiesaround money (JJ)
2) Susan may decide to drop fromprogrambefore she realizesher potential (ML)
3) Susan may not have the drive to succeed (and see thisplan through)
4) Time isnot on the side of Susan. It isalready the middle of the module and
she hasmuch ground to cover (AE)
5) I'mafraid that Susan might not be connected to the processof learning(AE)
Anchored to Achievement
1) If Susan hasagreed to meet with me once, I amencouraged that she'll do it
2) Our college programoffersSusan an opportunity to demonstrate how she
can deliver areturn on her parent'sinvestment (KB)
3) Hello - GRADUATION! (AE)
4) Susan might realize just how good it feelsto achieve something(AE)
5) Engagement = Socialization. I want to see Susan make the connection (MH)
10. UNIT SEVEN: EARLY WARNING
SYSTEMS (PART ONE)
Learners will be able to:
• Define the components of Early Warning Systems
that are already in use in other schools
• Explain how an Early Warning System works
• Identify at least one way an Early Warning System
benefits teaching and learning
• Realize the important roles that make an Early
Warning System work effectively
11. DEFINING AN EARLY WARNING
• An intentional process to monitor at risk learners;
those who „might’ fall off track
• A system of actions
12. COURSE SIGNALS
• This is an example of an early warning system:
13. ATTRIBUTES OF AN EFFECTIVE EARLY
• Looks back at previous cohort behaviors
• Simple and easy to collect
• Refined into only a few variables
• Captures a majority of students who dropout
15. INTANGIBLE MEASURES
These are all examples of measures that may
indicate something about a learner:
16. WHY USE AN EARLY WARNING
• Failing to keep students on track toward completing
high school has perilous consequences for students,
communities, and the economy ("Supporting early
• Early warning systems provide the student-level
information necessary to develop interventions that will
help guide students back on track, while aggregated
data can provide insights for improvement at the
schools and district levels ("Supporting early warning,"
• Early warning systems are important tools for states in
support of their policy goals ("Supporting early warning,"
• What actions does a teacher need to take to
18. OUR MOTIVATION SCALE
Worst NeedsImprovement Asexpected Above Expectations Best
` 1 2 3 4 5
Asksfor help (asneeded) -
24. Return to EduOs.net –
This week, your job is to read
the evolving scenario and
rate Susan based on her
25. SUSAN’S CASE
Susan is a new student who is attending classes at Bryman College – A
for-profit organization. As a new enrollment to the school, Susan has
demonstrated that she is able to satisfy some assignment deadlines, but
she also submits assignments late. Additionally, Susan evidently arrives to
class on-time, but there are also several instances when she is not exactly
prepared to participate. Recently, Susan explained to her classmates
that she is attending college because her „parents are paying her way‟.
Now, after failing her mid-term examination, Susan has agreed to meet
with her advisor (YOU) to discuss the situation. You are anxiously awaiting
the encounter and, in preparation, you choose to speak with other
colleagues at the college to present what you know about Susan (so
far). And, to her surprise, several of the other staff members are dealing
with a „Susan‟ of their own. The instructors remind each other of the facts
(as known) related to postsecondary student attrition, and then they
help you plan an action plan to address Susan‟s learning needs.
26. Chickering, A. W. (2006, May/June). Every student can learn - if... Retrieved from
Davis, M., Herzog, L., & Legters, N. (2013). Organizing schools to address early warning indicators (ewis): common
practices and challenges. Journal of education for students placed at risk, 18(1), 84-100. Retrieved from
http://eric.ed.gov/?q=student early warning system&id=EJ995398
Heafner, T. (2004). Using technology to motivate students to learn social studies. Retrieved from
K-12 research on early warning and success indicators . (2011, August). Retrieved from
Sagor, R. (2011). The action research guidebook: a four-stage process for educators and school teams. (2 ed.).
Thousand Oak, California: Corwin.
Supporting early warning systems: Using data to keep students on track to success. (2012). Retrieved from
Williams, M. G. (2010, November). Attrition and retention in the nursing major: Understanding persistence in beginning
nursing students. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=44bc7424-c2fd-431c-