Research and Evaluation
Evaluation of Prince George’s County Public Schools’ Early Warning System 

  Cecily Darden Adams & Erika D. Taylor, Ph.D. 


Nationally, one-quarter (25.5%) of students do not graduate from high school within four years. In Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), twenty-seven percent of students fail to graduate ontime (SY2010).  The Early Warning System (EWS) targets 9th grade students most at risk of not graduating from high school within four years. The EWS alerts high school administrators to at-risk 9th graders using a summer Watch List report and three quarterly Success Reports. The implementation of the PGCPS EWS began in the spring of 2009 and continued into SY2012.  The purpose of the current study is to examine the implementation of the EWS in PGCPS, identify strengths and challenges in the EWS program and provide recommendations regarding the EWS.  The EWS data reports reveal alarmingly high percentages (51.5%) of PGCPS students who are at risk of being retained in 9th grade. EWS-identified students accounted for 77 percent of all 9th grade students retained in SY2010.  The distribution of students identified as at-risk and retained varied by high school, race and ethnicity, student age, gender, special program participation and MSA performance. Interview data were collected from key staff members within the Department of Testing, the High School Consortium staff and high school administrators.  Although administrators considered the EWS to be very useful, the implementation of the EWS in PGCPS was seen as severely flawed.  Some administrators questioned whether the program was being fully implemented and were concerned that EWS was another responsibility in a very demanding environment.  The EWS lists accurately identified students for intervention according to school administrators. In fact, they noted that the EWS data reports had great utility, though the usefulness of the data reports has been moderately hampered by inconsistent availability and accuracy. The evaluators made seven recommendations intended to improve the effectiveness of the EWS.

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    Did You Know?

    In SY2012, 21 percent of middle grades students were enrolled in Algebra I.



    More than 33,600 students, 9,000 parents, and 5,700 teachers participated in the 2017 School Climate Survey.