Early Warning and Student Tracking System

Day-to-day student performance and behavior are the best indicators that a student is having trouble. The challenge is knowing which students are struggling and then getting this information into the hands of those at the institution who can provide the right help.

Starfish EARLY ALERT is an early warning and student tracking system that makes it possible for your institution to take a more holistic approach to student success rather than concentrating solely on those students with classic at-risk characteristics at admission (e.g., low scores on ACT/SAT, first-generation college students, self-reported survey responses).

Starfish EARLY ALERT is different from other solutions in a number of ways, including:

  • Human and Electronic. The system seamlessly combines feedback about a student's performance from people on campus (e.g., instructors) as well as automatic analysis of student activity as recorded in academic (LMS) and administrative (SIS) systems.
  • Academic and Personal. The system incorporates feedback about a student's academic performance as well as social/behaviorial indicators.
  • Find and Fix. The system not only identifies issues but also enables student success staff to address the issues to resolution.


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    Know Which Students Need Help

    Identifying at-risk students in time to make a difference requires that you act on the information the first day there is a sign of a problem. Starfish has a unique two-prong approach to capturing the information: first, we automatically mine any existing data about student performance documented in your existing technologies across campus; second, we encourage the campus community to report concerns–whether these concerns are seen in the classroom, residence halls, advising offices, or elsewhere.

    By working with your learning management system (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT, ANGEL, Moodle, Desire2Learn), Starfish EARLY ALERT automatically raises a flag for a student based on low grades, assignment tardiness, and online activity, according to thresholds that are centrally set by your institution. Similarly, capturing information from your student information system (e.g., Sungard Banner, Datatel Colleague, Oracle/Peoplesoft SIS, Jenzabar) shows which students are failing midterms, are late to register, or have been put on probation.

    While automation saves a lot of time, not everything about a student is captured by a computer for data mining. So, Starfish EARLY ALERT enables individual instructors, advisors, coaches, and residence hall directors to raise concerns that they observe, such as missing class, challenges with writing or math, or disruptive behavior.

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    Immediately Communicate Concerns to the Right People

    Improving upon what otherwise is a labor-intensive, manual process, Starfish EARLY ALERT then collates these concerns and, based on your specific policies for different kinds of students, securely routes the concerns to the appropriate individuals who can help the students. Sometimes the Student Success Center is on point to help undeclared undergraduates; sometimes it's the departmental advisor; other times an athletic coordinator or TRiO progam counselor is also brought into the conversation. Not to mention, often just sending an automated message to the student about a problem (e.g., not attending class) can fix the situation. And since the system works on your policies where individuals have a need to know, Starfish EARLY ALERT addresses FERPA without inappropriately limiting communication.

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    Manage to Resolution

    With so many students needing help, Starfish EARLY ALERT helps your advisors and other service personnel organize their day so that they can work more efficiently. By prioritizing the types of flags that they process, tracking students in target cohorts, or checking in on students within specific courses, Starfish gives advisors a host of ways to know which students need support. The system also makes it easy for advisors to connect with their students through email, text, and Facebook messages. And once advisors and students have connected, the system provides convenient tools to help document student interactions, including notes. Finally, when an issue is resolved, the system makes it easy to close the loop with the individual who raised the concern so that person knows his/her concern was taken seriously and appreciated.

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    Know What's Working and What Isn't

    How do you know if you have the right services to assist the diverse set of students enrolled in your institution? The best administrative decisions are made when your institution can analyze relevant information. Starfish EARLY ALERT positions your institution to know what's working and where there is an opportunity for change. For example, are students who attend tutoring more than twice a term for a class more likely to pass the class? With the ability to assess student outcomes as a result of your student success programs, you are able to create actionable plans for continuous improvement.

We Are Here to Help You

The Starfish Client Success Team is here to provide advice based on best practices used by hundreds of institutions. Let us know what you are trying to achieve, and we'll help you get there.