This summer, the implementation team focused on the key priority of configuring Starfish to deliver Early Progress Reports.
One of Starfish’s strengths is that it provides instructors and advisers flexibility to alert students to the need for change at any point in the semester and that it also allows for positive feedback when a student is doing well.
All of this is accomplished through a series of Tracking Items. Tracking items are the generic name for Flags, Kudos, and Referrals in Starfish. All tracking items are available at any time of the semester, are recorded in the student’s folder, and generate an email to the student.
Instructor and adviser Starfish roles each have a different set of tracking items. Instructor-raised tracking items are about the student’s performance in a particular course. Adviser-raised tracking items are about the student’s overall academic progress.
Early Progress reports put a small number of instructor-raised flags and kudos into a grid format, facilitating efficient progress through a course roster. Items raised in this report generate
email messages to students and their assigned advisers.
Alerting Students through Progress Surveys
The earlier students are alerted to potential academic concerns, the more opportunity they have to develop strategies for academic success. In order to allow students the opportunity to make constructive changes in their courses, instructors will be invited to complete two progress reports each semester: the Early Indicators report and the Mid-Semester Progress report.
During week three of the semester, instructors will be invited to complete an Early Indicators survey to alert students to engagement patterns that should change or continue. The Early Indicators survey will have only two choices for feedback:
- Keep up the good work – use to provide positive reinforcement for students who are meeting or exceeding your expectations (e.g., good attendance and participation).
- Unsatisfactory participation – use to alert students that they are not meeting expectations (e.g., inconsistent attendance, not completing out of class work, not participating in clicker questions, etc).
During week seven, instructors will be invited to complete a Mid-Semester Progress survey, which should be based on both patterns of student behavior and graded work. This survey will include the two tracking items above plus an additional flag:
- In Danger of Earning Below a C – use to alert students that they are in danger of earning below a “C” grade in the course.
Instructors will receive an email message from Starfish with instructions and a link to progress surveys for the course sections included in the survey. Each course section is presented as a grid. Instructors can check the appropriate box next to the student’s name for whom progress is being reported. Instructors can choose to add comments and can save progress. Once the survey is submitted, email messages are sent to students and their assigned advisers with general information about the issue raised, as well as the instructor’s comments, if any. Click here to view those message templates.
Following Up On Flags
Tracking items raised through progress surveys or individually at other points in the semester are recorded in the student folder under the Tracking tab.
The tracking area allows advisers and instructors to monitor student response to academic warnings. When a student meets with an instructor or adviser, information can be added to the tracking item in several ways:
- Comment – add additional information
- Clear – mark the flag as addressed
- Close the loop – send a message to the flag raiser with the reasons the flag is being cleared
Typically, all three actions will be taken by an adviser who meets with a student responding to a flag.
All active flags will be cleared at the end of each semester, but record of the flag will always be visible in the student’s folder.
Summary of the Early Progress Report Workflow
- Instructor receives a link to the course’s progress survey from Starfish
- Instructor submits the survey
- Starfish sends emails to students and the student’s assigned adviser
- The student is expected to take appropriate action
- If a student receives multiple warning flags, the assigned adviser is also expected to reach out to the student
- Once the student has responded to the alert, the instructor or adviser can clear the flag, and close the loop by adding reasons the flag has been cleared
- All unaddressed flags are cleared before the start of the next semester
- Record of all flags are retained in the student’s Starfish folder