Student behavior tends to settle into a pattern after the first few weeks of classes. Around week three or four of the semester would be a good time to pull a report to identify students engaging in behavior that could impair their chance of success in the course. When deciding to pull a report think about your class structure do you have assignments due once a week or multiple times per week, are there weekly quizzes? Do you use readings or touch points that students are expected to complete and how often? Knowing how often a student should be accessing course material and for how long will help you identify what metric to use when creating your report.
You can choose to use one or multiple metrics to help identify at risk students. At first you can pick one metric and then use a second to drill down into behavior.
Common metrics for reports and what they can tell you:
- Last login – Useful to identify students who have not accessed course material in the past week, however it can hide students who access the course but logout without fully completing work. Look for students who have not logged in for more than three or four days.
- Logins per week – Useful in a course with multiple weekly deadlines to identify students who are not keeping up with assignments. Look for students who log-in only on days when assignments are due as well as students last login times of students who have missed assignments.
- Total time in course – Useful for assessing if students are spending enough time outside of class on course material, can miss students who do work in binges rather than spreading out their time. Look for students who are below the class average.
- Time spent on topic or assignment – Good for identifying students who do work at the last minute or who rush through assignments. Look for students who have poor grades or who are struggling with topics to identify how much time they actually spend working on course material or assignments.
- Progress reports – Gives a good overview of where a student falls in total course progress. Useful when compared to the class to identify students who are falling behind.
These are just a few to get you started, based on your course type and structure you might find others that are more useful.
When looking to identify at risk students we want to try and identify poor practices as soon as possible. After identifying an at-risk student, it can help to meet with the student to discuss their study and time management practices. It is also important to follow-up with the student in the following weeks to help them stay on track.