Back in June 2013 the PAR Framework openly published an intervention assessment framework called the Student Success Matrix to help PAR members figure out how to respond when confronted with predictions of which students were likely to drop out. "What should we do to respond to these predictions showing our students at risk?" our members asked. At that time Dr. Karen Swan, Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield, reminded us that there are already lots and lots and lots of things that academic advisors, faculty and other student success professional already do to help students succeed in school. Going back through the professional literature, she and Dr. Peter Shea, SUNY-Albany, helped us find models of student engagement and participation relevant to our work at hand.
Karen proposed a framework to map interventions using predictor behaviors of success and points in the academic completion cycle. Over the past year Karen and Peter have worked closely with Sandy Daston, PAR Framework Director of Student Success and the entire PAR SSMx working group (Hae Okimoto, University of Hawaii System; Jennifer Freed, Dan Huston, and Fermin Ornelas, Rio Salado College; David Shulman, Broward College; Denise Nadasen, Jack Neill and Karen Vignare, UMUC; Patsy Moskal and DeLayne Priest, University of Central Florida; Michelle Wiley, Penn State World Campus; Mysti Reneau, Community Colleges of Spokane) to refine processes and tools for promoting intervention measurement. This group of experienced educational practitioners and decisionmaker has helped determine what can actually be done for student at risk - even down to knowing how to support those 37 students that are most likely to fail Math 101 this semester.
PAR institutions have begun the process of inventorying, tagging, describing measuring and evaluating literally hundreds of interventions currenty in use on campuses to help student succeed. Thanks to the SSMx we have accelerated the process of connecting predictions of risk to the interventions that will mitigate risk.
This post is to acknowledge Karen's leadership and contributions to PAR's thinking about using predictions as cataysts for taking action, and for linking interventions to predictions to underscore the importance of linking predictions to action.