Early Alert: QCC and IBM Team Up on Program to Flag Struggling Students

BuildingQueensborough Community College’s innovative “Early Alert” system was featured in Crain’s New York Business magazine as a model for identifying and reaching out to students with declining performance.

“With a $250,000 technology grant for servers, software and support, one IBM project manager built the early-alert system for Queensborough,” writes Cara Eisenpress in the magazine. “Using the new system, faculty members key in their worries about students as early as possible. That data quickly makes its way to advisers, who reach out to flagged undergraduates to help them solve academic and personal issues, and to keep them on campus—IBM’s goal.”

The “Early Alert” program was piloted in spring of 2011 in 10 science, technology, engineering, and math classes. The test saw the number of students earning Cs or better increase by 10 percent. Early Alert is now available for all classes.

In an interview, QCC student Dinesh Rajkunar said he grew discouraged within weeks of beginning school, after learning he would need remedial reading, writing, and math courses. His performance was flagged, he began meeting regularly with an academic adviser, and today holds a B+/A- average and is on track to apply for transfer to John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Read more from Crain’s New York Business.