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Early warning systems in schools: Tracking and monitoring students’ progress using NCEA achievement data

Mark J.S. Gan, S. Earl Irving, and Elizabeth McKinley

An early warning system can draw the attention of teachers to students’ learning needs early in the course of study, allow monitoring of progress in student learning, and guide the implementation of instructional interventions. In this article we report on a study in which we examined teachers’ views on using early warning systems to identify students who are “at risk” of failing to complete their NCEA qualifications, and we describe the measures that can be put in place to better support such students to achieve their learning goals. In particular, we found that a timely, collaborative, and coherent system of tracking and monitoring was effective in engaging teachers and students in productive learning dialogues, and in supporting interventions that keep students on track to achieving their qualifications.

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