Dropout Early Warning System (DEWS) scores are available for all students in grades 6 through 9. The DEWS score is a number from 0-100 that represents the likelihood that a student graduates within 4 years of entering high school. The DEWS score is calculated individually for each student and represents how often similar students graduated high school on schedule in prior years. Thus, a student with a score of 60 has data that are very similar to students in previous cohorts who graduated on schedule 60% of the time. For your convenience the DEWS score is broken into three categories of risk – high, moderate, and low risk.
The DEWS score is calculated using student-specific data reported by Wisconsin school districts to the Department of Public Instruction:
- Attendance in the prior school year
- Days removed for out-of-school suspension or expulsion in the prior school year
- Number of school and district moves in the prior school year
- Performance on the Wisconsin Forward Exam in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics in the prior school year
Additionally, the school of attendance for the prior school year and a combination of student demographic attributes are used to ensure that a student is compared to the most similar group of students possible.
DEWS is intended to be used as a starting point for inquiry. Schools are encouraged to combine the DEWS score with more current local information and contextual information to consider the case of each student as well as other data available in WISEdash. More information about this process can be found in the DEWS Action Guide.
In addition to the DEWS score and risk category, students are given risk tiers for each of the four malleable domains – attendance, behavior, mobility, and assessment.
DEWS Outcome: DEWS Outcome provides a short assessment of three tiers of student risk. Students with a Low risk rating have a DEWS Score – DEWS Margin of Error greater than 78.5. Students with a Moderate rating have a DEWS Score and DEWS Margin of Error that overlaps 78.5. High rating students have a DEWS Score + DEWS Margin of Error less than 78.5. The value of 78.5 was chosen as the statewide threshold, but schools are free to use their own threshold based on local conditions and resources. Students with a blank score do not have enough data in the prior year to calculate a score. This does not mean these students are not at risk; rather that a school should investigate why no score is available and determine risk based on the most current local data.
DEWS Score: The DEWS score ranges between 0-100 representing the likelihood that an individual student has of graduating from high school on time with their graduation cohort.
DEWS Margin of Error: DEWS Margin of Error represents the error or uncertainty surrounding the DEWS Score for an individual student.
DEWS Mobility: Students who changed schools once in the prior school year are given a Moderate score. Students who changed schools more than once in the prior school year are given a High score.
DEWS Discipline: Students who were removed from school for an out-of-school suspension more than 0.5 days and fewer than 3 days in the prior school year are given a Moderate risk. Students suspended or expelled for 3 or more days are given a High risk.
DEWS Attendance: Students who miss 12 or fewer days of school for any reason in the prior school year are given a Low score. Students with 12.5 to 20 days absent in the prior school year are given a Moderate risk. Students missing greater than 20 days of school in the prior school year are given a High rating.
DEWS Assessments: Students who score within 1 standard deviation of the median score on reading and math combined for students at Low, Moderate, or High overall risk are given that score. These scale score ranges vary by grade and by year. They are different than the proficiency cut points and based on equating the current student’s performance to the performance of students classified in each of the three risk categories.
DEWS Outcome Date: This is the date the DEWS outcome model was run.
The DEWS scores are best accessed by logging on to WISEdash for Districts and choosing the Early Warning option from the “waffle” icon on the upper left side of the page (the 3 by 3 squares to the left of the WISEdash logo).
By default, the Early Warning section opens to the Absenteeism tab. Click on the Early Warning tab that is just to the right of Absenteeism on the top toolbar.
Once you are on the Early Warning tab go ahead and click on the Filter Data button to check that DEWS is selected under Early Warning System and select at least a District and a list of students and their DEWS scores will be returned.
Alternatively, you can access DEWS scores through by navigating to many of the other dashboards and drilling on any metric or by using the Student Search functionality under the Tools section. More detailed information about any individual student can be accessed by pulling up the Student Profile view from the student roster.
On the Student Profile page the most recent DEWS results for a student will be displayed. DEWS results are updated twice a year. At the beginning of each school year, DPI releases a preliminary DEWS score for all students in grades 7 through 9 for the purposes of planning. These preliminary DEWS score are based on a student's Wisconsin Forward Exam scores and DEWS score from the prior year. For example, preliminary DEWS scores for the 2016-2017 school year are based on Forward scores from the 2015-2016 school year and the final 2015-2016 DEWS score. When year-end snapshot data for the prior school year becomes available later in the year, these DEWS scores will be updated to the final DEWS score, replacing the preliminary data.
- For the 2020-21 DEWS Scores: The statewide school closure in mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the Forward exams were not given. As a result, no preliminary DEWS scores were produced. After analyzing multiple options, Final DEWS scores were produced by carrying forward test scores from 2018-19. For example, DEWS scores for 2020-21 eighth graders would have used 2019-20 seventh grade test scores under normal circumstances but used 2018-19 sixth grade test scores instead.
- For the 2016-17 preliminary DEWS scores: The addition of the Forward Exam to the calculations that already include WKCE and Badger results in larger margins of error around the predictions. This causes more students to be identified as having moderate risk and fewer as low risk and high risk of not completing high school than previous calculations.
- Testing has shown DEWS Outcome scores change for a very few students when the final data is added to the preliminary data. However, in order to provide the most accurate information, the DEWS Score will be updated with the year-end snapshot data and only the final DEWS Score for each school year are retained.
View more information about DEWS at the DEWS Home page.