The primary goal of this study was to examine the use of an early warning system to aide in recognizing early school disengagement. Additionally, a goal of this study was to examine an intensive response to intervention decision-making process and the difference in student outcomes for those who were selected for the (RtI process. By combining the examination of an early warning system and an RtI decision-making process, this research furthered recommendations for more effective methods of identifying students who are academically disengaged, and gain insight on intervention processes in secondary schools. Therefore the research questions tested the validity of an early warning system as a means for identifying students at-risk of academic disengagement and student outcome gains when participating in a Response to Intervention (RtI) decision-making process compared to those who did not participate. Populations of concern included students in transitional periods, moving from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school. The study identified several statistically significant and educationally meaningful difference between the use of a risk score indicator and academic achievement. Findings were consistent with other research that have shown statistically significant relationships between student achievement outcomes and early warning systems. While additional research is needed to develop specific recommendations to educational leaders, researchers, and policy makers, this study validates the notion that an early warning identification risk score can be used to predict academic achievement. An early warning system can aid in student identification, but as noted in the last research question of this study, there is still a great need to reach the ultimate goal: mitigating risk factors for students who are academically disengaged. Specifically, as students transition to larger schools, achievement gaps are susceptible to expanding for students; therefore, there is a great need to ensure intervention processes that address the needs of students who are prone to disengagement. Implications of these findings will apply to educational leaders, researchers, and policy-makers with interest in identification of students who are academically disengaged and in need of intervention supports.


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Graduation Date





Taylor, Rosemarye


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership; Executive









Release Date

February 2017

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)