Tackling the drop out rate


In Philadelphia, 30 percent of students don’t graduate high school.

What if we could identify and support at-risk students well before they dropped out?

Research conducted by the Philadelphia Education Fund and Johns Hopkins University indicates that students at risk of dropping out can be identified as early as sixth grade.  The study followed 13,000 Philadelphia public school students from their sixth grade year through a year past their expected high school graduation. The research shows that as early as sixth grade, students with any one of three Early Warning Indicators (EWIs) had only a had only a 21% percent chance of graduating high school. These indicators are:

1) Low attendance (less than 80 percent).

2) Poor behavior (three or more negative behavior marks, now defined as suspensions).

3) Course failure in math or English.

The Ed Fund’s Early Warning System (EWS) was designed to help schools identify at-risk students early and to provide interventions and supports that will reduce their likelihood of dropping out. EWS is a systematic approach to addressing Early Warning Indicators. The model builds capacity in understaffed schools to access, use, and interpret data to inform instruction, drive interventions, and leverage existing resources to improve student outcomes.


The Ed Fund’s EWS team:

* Works with schools to determine what resources and interventions already exist within the school to help address EWIs.


* Educates teachers about data analytics and works with them on how to best use EWIs to improve instruction.


* Provides targeted professional development and technical assistance to ensure the model is implemented effectively.


Learn more about our results here.