Beginning in Fall 2014, UWG will use an Early Alert Progress Report instead of the Engaged/Non-Engaged Report. This new Progress Report is similar to that used for student athletes, but is now for all students.  Why the changes? We want to identify students who are at-risk of earning a D or an F in a specific course, and to know why the student isn’t doing well. The Progress Report therefore allows you to provide several types of relevant information about each at-risk student’s situation, including current grades, absences, alert reasons (e.g., missing assignments, sleeping in class), and even to write specific comments. You can choose only to indicate those students whom you consider to be at risk, but you should provide as much information as you can. Why bother?

The purpose of the Progress Report is to not only identify but also offer assistance to academically at-risk students.  The information you provide will be used to make timely “at-risk interventions” designed to help these students turn things around in order to successfully complete your course.

Information on how to enter Progress Report data begins on page 12 of the GradesFirst Faculty Guide.

Early Alert FAQ

Q. Do students know this is happening?
A. Yes, students have been informed that you will be reporting on their progress and that someone could be contacting them to offer assistance.

Q. What if I do not teach the course(s) assigned to me?
A. GradesFirst pulls instructor assignments from Banner. If you are the instructor of record but someone else facilitates the class, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs has requested that you coordinate with your facilitator to respond to the Progress Report. If you believe you are assigned to a course incorrectly, contact the campus GradesFirst Administrator, Danny Gourley.

Q. What if he course number and the student roster are correct, but the title of the course is wrong?
A. This probably is because you are teaching a special topics course. The information in Banner is correct, but the process we use to upload courses into GradesFirst uses the name of one special topics course for all being taught that term. We are working to correct this issue. In the meantime, you are able to respond to the Progress Report so long as the roster is correct.

Q. What do I do if some of the students in my class have the correct last name, but the first name looks different?
A. We have tried to correct this where possible, but GradesFirst may have pulled the "Preferred First Name" field from Banner, bringing over nicknames. Do the best you can to respond to the Progress Report based on the names you see.

Q. I am eCore instructor who works at UWG or any other university. Do I have to do this?
A. We tried our best to exclude eCore courses. Please feel to ignore any eCore sections accidentally included in the Progress Report. eCore classes have their own reporting mechanism.

Q. I already issued an Alert in GradesFirst for a student. Do I need to mark him/her at-risk here, too?
A. Yes, it will help us collect better data about the percentage of our undergraduate students at-risk if you do, but someone is taking action on the Alert you issued already.

Q. A student you asked about has already withdrawn from my course. Do you not know that?
A. You do not need to respond for any students who have withdrawn from your course. Feel free to let the system mark them as not at-risk as you complete your report.

Issuing an alert

The Early Alert Progress Report is not the only opportunity for faculty to seek help for a student. The Issue Alert option in GradesFirst allows you to essentially say, “Hey, I have a student who needs help!  And I think this is beyond what I can do in my role as an instructor.”

Issuing an alert lets you identify students in your course whom you believe to be academically at-risk and to make a referral to the appropriate campus resource(s). When you click “issue alert,” you are given a list of alert reasons, which include behaviors--such as sleeping in class, frequent tardiness, and missing assignments--as well as “status” alerts, such as failing exams. You can also use this feature to refer a student for tutoring, to the Writing Center, or for Academic Coaching.

The alert is received by a staff member in the Center for Academic Success (CAS), and other key people such as the student’s academic advisor. A staff member in the CAS will review the alert within two business days. The student will be invited to schedule an appointment with an Academic Coach in the CAS, or will be assigned to an appropriate campus partner (such as designated advisors).  Notes on how the student has been contacted and whether the student responds are documented in GradesFirst.  Faculty should note that the CAS cannot require students to schedule appointments or engage in any academic support programs. Therefore, we strongly encourage faculty to communicate their concerns directly to students when they issue alerts. Detailed instructions on how to issue an alert are on page 6 of the GradesFirst Faculty Guide.