Early Alerts

Deciphering Early Alerts for Targeted Tutoring

As a university, your faculty plays a crucial role in keeping students engaged and on track for graduation – and that includes tutors (even if they might not be on the payroll). Early alerts, while potentially worrisome, offer valuable data points to identify at-risk students and intervene strategically. As such, it's critical that your team members can decipher these alerts to offer personalized, and, consequently, effective student support.

early alerts for targeted tutoring

Download the Checklist: How to Build a Proactive Early Alert System

Understanding Early Alerts

While at the surface level, early alerts may only seem like notifications of students at risk of failing, they actually serve as a treasure trove of insights. By viewing alerts in this light, universities can take advantage of valuable information about these students and tailor their support accordingly, resulting in increased grades and retention. One of these ways is through targeted tutoring. 

Targeted interventions informed by early alert data lead to better academic outcomes. A study at Oregon State University found that students who received interventions based on specific early alert indicators, like missing assignments or poor attendance, saw an average improvement of 0.18 grade points compared to those who received less targeted interventions.

Attendance Patterns

Empty chairs (or screens) can speak volumes. Frequent absences might indicate challenges beyond academics, like transportation difficulties, health concerns, or even a loss of interest in the course. Look for patterns – are there specific classes or days they consistently miss? Have external factors, like family emergencies or financial issues, surfaced? Understanding the "why" behind the absences equips tutors to offer targeted support beyond just academic catch-up.

Assignment Completion

Unfinished work is more than just missed deadlines; it's a symptom of a deeper struggle. Analyze the pattern – are there specific tasks they consistently avoid? Does a particular concept seem to trip them up repeatedly? Examine their work – are there careless mistakes, missing steps, or a complete lack of engagement? Observe their class participation – do they seem hesitant to ask questions or overwhelmed by the material? Identifying the specific areas where they fall behind allows tutors to build a roadmap that directly addresses learning gaps.

Academic Struggles

Low grades in a particular subject are a red flag demanding attention. But the number itself tells only part of the story. Do they consistently underperform in quizzes or struggle with specific topics? Give tutors the tools to analyze assignments and class participation – can they pinpoint knowledge gaps, misconceptions, or learning styles that clash with the teaching approach? Unearthing the root cause of their academic struggles empowers tutors to design targeted practice exercises and bridge the understanding gap.

Remember, early alerts aren't necessarily red flags; they're a personalized data toolkit. By analyzing the information with a focus on understanding, not just reacting, tutors can turn those raw numbers into a springboard for individualized support. With a keen eye and a touch of empathy, universities can transform early alerts from warning signs into guiding lights on students' journey to success.


Tailoring Your Tutoring Toolkit

Deciphering early alerts is the first step; now, it's time to transform those insights into targeted tutoring strategies. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach here – a tutoring toolkit should be as unique as each student supported.

Attendance Issues

If a student or mentee is showing lackluster attendance, it's important to embrace an approach of flexibility. Tutors can offer alternate session times, online options, or split longer appointments into shorter, more manageable chunks. Check in regularly, show genuine concern, and connect them with academic support services like transportation programs or mental health counseling.

Incomplete Assignments

Tutors should break down tasks into smaller, achievable steps. Providing targeted practice drills can address specific learning gaps identified in their work. Additionally, sharing time management tips and resources like planners or organizational tools can help students stay organized.

Academic Struggles

Equip tutors with the skills and resources to identify and address specific knowledge gaps in at-risk students. Encourage the use of:

    • Diverse Teaching Methods: Train tutors to tailor their approach based on individual learning styles. This could involve incorporating visuals, diagrams, and hands-on activities for students struggling with abstract concepts.
    • Active Learning Strategies: Foster an environment where tutors encourage active participation and question-asking through discussion, small group activities, and interactive exercises.

    • Supplemental Resources: Provide tutors access to a variety of supplementary materials like video tutorials, study guides, practice exams, and online learning platforms beyond the textbook. These resources can offer additional explanations, practice opportunities, and diverse learning formats to cater to different learning styles.

Beyond Academics

Remember, academic struggles often stem from non-academic challenges. Your university should be a source of encouragement, so connect students with relevant campus resources for financial aid, mental health support, or career guidance. Foster open communication and build trust so students feel comfortable discussing their personal struggles. Students should feel they can turn to their tutors for support instead of viewing them as another obstacle in their academic journey. 

By aligning teaching methods with the insights gleaned from early alerts, tutors become more than just tutors; but personal guides, equipping students with the tools and confidence to navigate their academic challenges. Remember, tailoring these approaches is an ongoing process. Encourage adaptability and flexibility, and celebrate each small victory along the way.


Unlock Potential, One Student at a Time

Early alerts may seem daunting, but they signal a path forward. By understanding the reason behind the alerts, tailoring tutoring approaches, and weaving a collaborative support network, each university holds the key to unlocking student potential. Each personalized plan, each hurdle overcome, and each success celebrated - are a step forward on the path to student success.

Plus, the more your students succeed, the more likely they are to thrive on your campus. In turn, this leads to higher GPAs, boosted retention rates, and happier students. It's a win-win. 


How do Early Alerts work Infographic

Similar posts

Get the latest student success insights 

Join our community of educational leaders who are redefining the landscape of student success.