Early Progress Report Design Team

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Team ID: 
College / Administrative Unit: 
Commonwealth Campuses, VP for
Information Technology Services (ITS)
Office of the President
Undergraduate Education
Date Started: 
September 2007
The Early Progress Report (EPR) System provides an early alert to first year students who are in danger of making unsatisfactory academic progress in their semester courses. It also provides access to resources for helping students to be more successful academically. EPR is designed as an online application that uses the eLion platform and was created to comply with the new University Faculty Senate legislation to replace the out-dated paper Mid-semester Grade Reporting System mandated at Penn State in 1992.

In 2007, the design team, composed of administrators, faculty, staff members and students (in focus groups) came together to lay out a plan for an effective retention tool, one that is both student-centered and convenient for instructors and learners, one that also links students to their teachers and academic advisors. Reports are delivered early, between the third and the seventh week of the semester, and in enough time to allow for the building of appropriate strategies to reverse problems like absenteeism, missing of assignments, and low test scores. The eLion platform also provides helpful links to Penn State Learning resources such as learning centers, tutoring services and peer counseling services.

The project consisted of three distinct phases:

1. Phase 1 was begun in FA 08 as a pilot to introduce the prototype to the academic community. It included first year stuents taking courses in the Eberly College of Science at University Park, the Capital College, and Penn State Brandywine, a campus of the University College.

2. Phase 2 began in SP 09 and added first year students taking courses in the College of the LA, College of HHD, the Abington, Altoona, Behrend, and Berks collelges along with the University College campuses of Greater Allegheny and Worthington Scranton.

3. Phase 3 in FA 09 included all first year students taking courses in all colleges University-wide.

The original objective was to define academic analytics needed to create a new tool for predicting academic performance early enough to affect change for first year students. This would be accomplished by mining data from present systems that support teaching and learning and to provide customization, tutoring, or intervention within the learning environment. The design team wanted to identify "actionable intelligence." Residual benefits would also include the ability to identify at-risk students earlier; to encourage students to use existing resources to achieve success; to provide a list of student interventions based on predictive results; and to use Eckerson's process of analytics to achieve early intervention for at-rist students (capture, report, predict, and act).

The Early Progress Report system has successfully completed all three primary phases of development and has been completely institutionalized in all Penn State colleges. It is being monitored across the university. While it was designed as a first year student retention tool at University Park, it is used more widely at campuses and campus colleges for all students. Responsibility for the system and collecting of its longitudinal data about students, advisors, and instructors falls under the Office of the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education. Dr. Mary Beth Crowe on Dr. Pangborn’s staff is presently overseeing the monitoring of the system.

Nancy L. Herron
September 26, 2011

Contact Person: 
Nancy Herron
  • Rob Pangborn, Sponsor
  • John Romano, Sponsor
  • John Harwood, Co-Chair
  • Nancy Herron, Co-Chair
  • Lee Coraor, Member
  • Beth Crowe, Member
  • Peter deVries, Member
  • Mike Dooris, Member
  • Karen Duncan, Member
  • Renata Engel, Member
  • Angela Linse, Member
  • Stephen Savard, Member
  • Nick Warcholak, Member
  • Eric White, Member