EARLY ALERT ACADEMIC WARNING SYSTEM: A QUANTITATIVE STUDY OF TWO CHARACTERISTICS OF EARLY ALERT WARNINGS AND THE IMPACTS TO RETENTION AMONG FIRST-TIME FALL FRESHMEN
Smith, Jessica Groomer
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An Early Alert referral is a tool used by colleges and universities to proactively monitor student performance. Based on theories of student interaction with the institutional environment being the driving factors in student attrition, this study examines the nature of the student interaction with the Early Alert system at West Texas A&M University, a medium-sized University in rural Texas, in two ways. First, it looks at whether the timing of the initial Early Alert referral received by the student impacts retention to the next long semester. Second it examines whether being told the course performance is satisfactory, or could be satisfactory with improvement, impacts retention to the next long semester. A group of 339 full time, first-time, degree seeking freshmen who received Early Alerts during the first semester of enrollment are sampled. A logistic regression finds that the timing of the Early Alert (counted as days into the term) increases the odds of retention by about 10% each week into the term. This effect is particularly pronounced among students living on campus with lower first term GPAs.