All students enter school with a combination of "headwinds" and "tailwinds". Tailwinds are the things that make school easier for students. Tailwinds include things such as coming from a home with parents of high education levels and economic stability, being a native English speaker, not having a disability, and being a member of the cultural majority. Each of those characteristics plays a role in helping a student experience success in school.

Headwinds on the other hand make school more difficult. Headwinds can include having economic instability at home, parents with lower levels of education, having a disability, or still learning English. The more headwinds a student has, the more difficulty they will have in maximizing their academic potential and the more “tailwinds” they will need. Tailwinds come in the form of high-quality instruction, support, and intervention.

The Academic Support Index, or ASI, quantifies these headwinds. A student’s ASI is the sum of their headwinds. Their ASI can also be considered a measure of the amount of support that they will need in order to mitigate the impact of those educational headwinds. Students with a low ASI will likely need very little additional support outside of Tier 1 instruction. Higher ASI students will likely need proportionally higher amounts of Tier 2 and sometimes Tier 3 supports.

There is a strong relationship between the ASI and academic outcomes. These include standardized and standards-based assessments such as the SAT, Smarter Balanced Assessments, AP and IB tests, STAR Reading and Math, kindergarten screeners, cumulative grade point averages, rates of college eligibility, and rates of college degree attainment. We have studied these effects over seven years of data as well as across urban, suburban, and rural schools. To date over 400,000 students have been scored on the ASI. (See the featured post below for a list of papers and presentations on the ASI).

Because the ASI is able to reliably predict student outcomes you have to opportunity to interrupt that predictability by using the ASI to make sure that you are identifying the right students for early intervention and support. With effective intervention, predictive analytics can become preventive analytics.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The ASI as a predictor of SAT performance

Now that the College Board is going to start providing an "Adversity Index" along with SAT scores, I thought I'd take a look at how well the ASI aligns with students' SAT scores.  The ASI itself is a measure of the academic headwinds that students face.  I suspect the Adversity Index is attempting to do something similar.


Friday, April 26, 2019

AERA Division H Outstanding Paper Award for Advances in Methodology

At the 2019 American Educational Research Association meeting in Toronto our paper "Maximizing Assessment Performance of At-Risk Students Using the Academic Support Index to Engineer a Low Stress Testing Environment" was recognized by Division H (Research, Evaluation, and Assessment in Schools) in their Outstanding Paper competition under the category for Advances in Methodology.  

Monday, January 28, 2019

IEUC San Diego 2019

Title: Focusing on Equity Using the Academic Support Index
Abstract: Closing the achievement gap is the challenge of our time. When looking at student data, it is imperative that we examine performance through a lens that focuses our attention on the right students. The Academic Support Index (ASI) provides a more nuanced and effective way to identify students for support.  In this session attendees will learn how to calculate students’ ASI, identify students for support prior to academic struggles, look at assessments in Illuminate, and evaluate academic data through the ASI lens. Research proven examples of how the ASI has been used to close the achievement gap will be provided.

Thursday (Day 1), Session 2, 11:15-12:15, Room 24A

Friday (Day 2), Session 8, 1:30-2:30, Room 24B