Early Warning System

What is the strategy?

In our class, students have five chances to pass each of the ten assessments we give them. In the past, we only reached out to check in with them after they failed an assessment three times. This upcoming semester, I would like to try reaching out to them if they fail an assessment just two times, to see if that makes a difference.

Why should I use it?

Lots of studies show the benefits of early and frequent feedback; this would be a way to improve on our feedback to students

What is an example (or two) of the task?

We currently use an automated system to flag students that have failed assessments three times; we’ll just change it to flag them after two failed attempts.

How do these tasks fit into my class?  How long will they take?

I’m usually able to meet with students during lecture, or office hours, to go over their assessments with them. These meetings usually take 10-20 minutes, but I haven’t found them disruptive, especially because they can be done during lecture as well (since it’s a flipped classroom). My hope is that by meeting with students sooner, we iron out their problems earlier, leading to saved time in the end. However, I don’t mind this targeted help: I think honestly it is the most important thing I do all semester, with the highest impact.

Should I do these problems in groups?  How big?  Who chooses them?

Just me and the student J

For which topics should I assign them?

All topics

How should I grade these problems?  Should I grade these problems?

Not applicable

What pitfalls do I need to avoid?

I need to be considerate and caring when I meet with students, and not act frustrated when I might find out they haven’t really studied enough. I need to offer constructive criticism and come up with action plans for all of them.

What do I need to explain to my students about this new classroom activity?

Nothing really, just I will want to meet with them if they’re struggling on an assessment, so they shouldn’t be caught off guard by any emails they get from me.