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Developing Early Warning Indicators for the San Francisco Unified School District

Oded Gurantz
Publication Date: 
June, 2011

San Francisco’s Bridge to Success initiative joins the City of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, the City College of San Francisco, and community organizations to promote high school and postsecondary success for underrepresented students. Discussions between SFUSD staff and researchers from the Gardner Center led to the development of an Early Warning System to enable high schools to identify incoming ninth grade students in need of extra supports to be on track to graduate. This issue brief presents the analysis that led to the selection of two eighth grade indicators that predicted a four‐year high school graduation rate of approximately 25%: (1) GPA below 2.0 and (2) attendance rate below 87.5%. Incoming ninth grade students who entered with one eighth grade risk factor were half as likely to graduate as students who entered with zero risk factors. The graduation rate of students with two risk factors dropped to 15%.  Regardless of the number of risk factors, students who passed all their core courses in the first semester of ninth grade had significantly higher graduation rates than students who failed even one core course.

Suggested citation: 

Gurantz, O. (2011). Developing early warning indicators for the San Francisco Unified School District.  Stanford, CA: John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities.

Bay Area
Policy area: 
College, Career, and Civic Readiness