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Starfish Early Alert System

Starfish - Early Alert for Student Success

Increasing student success and improving retention is a priority and common goal that is shared across the institution at GRCC. Advisors, counselors, professors, staff, and the students themselves all play a role in contributing to enriching people's lives and contributing to the vitality of the community (GRCC's Vision).

GRCC's mission is to provide the community with learning opportunities that enable people to achieve their goals. In order to assist all students in achieving this mission, the College has established a College Action Project (CAP 1.3.1) to develop and implement a comprehensive student early alert and feedback program.

In this work, the College has selected Starfish EARLY ALERT from Starfish Retention Solutions Inc. to provide the ability for professors to raise flags (concerns) for students that are at risk. In addition, automated flags can be raised based on data in Blackboard such as missing assignments, grades, or course activity. These flags can be raised for a wide array of factors that can effect a student's retention and success.

In short, the goal of this early alert system is to identify at-risk students and refer them to the appropriate advisor so that preventative action can occur - before the students withdraw or get too far behind in their coursework. At risk behaviors include such factors as:

  • Excessive absences
  • Poor performance
  • Lacking preparation for course
  • Has not logged on or has not had enough time on task for an online course
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Missing assignments, exams, or homework
  • Personal crises impacting learning

Why do we need an early alert system such as Starfish Early Alert?

  • At-Risk students often need help day 1!
  • Students receive early and individualized feedback and contact from retention, student conduct, and academic support staff
  • Early Alert + Early Intervention = Increased Student Success and Retention
  • Improve crisis prevention and risk management
  • Early Alert is a key tool in the student retention arsenal
  • It costs more to recruit a student than it does to retain a student

How does Starfish Early Alert Work?

  1. Students that are at risk are identified by faculty by the raising of a "academic performance", "attendance", "conduct/behavior", or "last login" flag. The "last login" flag is automated and used in all online courses at GRCC.
  2. Depending on the flag that is raised, a retention specialist, counselor, academic support, tutor, or student conduct staff member is notified.
  3. Action is taken by an the staff member that is associated with the flag and the student is contacted as necessary.
  4. Based on the flag, the student is referred or consulted with the purpose of providing assistance and support to the student to help them be successful.
  5. Faculty may be contacted for followup or be notified when the flag is lowered.

Where can I access Starfish Early Alert?

  • Starfish Early Alert is accessed through Blackboard by clicking on the "Early Alert" tab.

When was this system put in place?

  • The College implemented the system and piloted it in the Winter 2011 semester.  After a successful pilot for AFP and online courses over the summer and Fall 2010 the system was placed into production campus wide.  If you are a professor and you would like to assist in testing the system, or for more information, please contact John Cowles.