Frequently Asked Questions about EPRs (Early Progress Reports)
What is an EPR and how will my course information help advisors?
When you provide your course-level information, it will support a larger student success effort at Pitt by assisting advisors, mentors, and administrators in identifying and helping students who may be encountering trouble in multiple courses. While we know that individual instructors and/or teaching assistants may reach out to students about their own courses, it is valuable information for academic advisors and mentors to understand when a student may be struggling in multiple courses and be able to intervene early (e.g., for academic resources, tutoring, personal or counseling resources, withdrawal). It is important to note that this effort is in no way a violation of FERPA and University policy as it aligns with a need to share student information for a legitimate educational purpose.
As well, early feedback is important to your students, who will receive a notification that a concern has been raised about their performance and better understand whether or not their study strategies align with your expectations.
How were my students and/or courses identified to participate in the EPR?
In our ongoing efforts toward undergraduate student success, several units agreed to join our efforts and your course happens to be one of those who services those students:
- Swanson School of Engineering: First-year students and undeclared students
- School of Computing & Information: First-year students
- Academic Support Services for Student Athletes (ASSSA): All student-athletes (including graduate/professional student-athletes)
- School of Nursing: First- and second-year students
- Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences: External transfer students
- College of General Studies: External transfer students
- Office of the Provost: Provost Scholars and first-year students new on probation
- Greensburg Campus: Select student populations
- Johnstown Campus: All students
What kind of information could I provide so early in the term?
Of course, we encourage you to utilize your Canvas course gradebook, when possible, to identify students who are struggling academically. While we recognize we are asking for course feedback quite early in the term, the New Analytics link on your Canvas Course home page can provide some insight beyond grades and into a student’s level of engagement. From here, you can review weekly online activity (on average or based on individual page views), details on individual students, and a variety of different activity reports in addition to course grades by assignment type. This can help you to identify specific students who have not logged in, who have a small amount of page views, or who have missed an assignment. Most importantly, we ask you to think holistically about the students you are most concerned about per your definition for your course (e.g., never attended, never turned in assignments, is not engaged in course material, earning zeros on all assignments, seems withdrawn, etc.). If you have any tips or tricks for completing the EPRs, please let us know as our goal is to help faculty keep this as simple as possible.
What information are you exactly asking for in the EPR?
During the reporting period you will be able to identify students about whom you are concerned and generate “alerts” to make both advisors and students aware of student progress. You can choose none, one, or multiple alerts from the following list for as many or as few students on your roster as applicable:
- In danger of failing
- In danger of earning a C- or D
- Attendance concern
- Missing assignments
- Other academic performance concerns
- Kudos – keep up the great work!
While not required, you may also choose to include additional “comments” in the report to provide both advisors and students more information. Some examples include but are not limited to missing assignments, low quiz/test scores, should seek tutoring resources, technology concern, showing good improvement, and good class participation.
Remember, students, advisors, and other support staff will be able to view these comments. In addition, comments are part of a student’s record and are expected to meet the standards of recording-keeping consistent with federal guidelines. If you have any questions or need guidance on documentation, visit the Documenting Student Interactions section of our website.
Who receives the EPRs?
EPRs are only sent to instructors identified in PeopleSoft as the primary and/or secondary instructor for a course. The link contained in the EPR communication is unique to each instructor and therefore should not be shared with others. If a course has a primary and secondary instructor, the EPR will be sent to both individuals, however, only one instructor needs to complete the EPR. Individuals identified in PeopleSoft as teaching assistants will not receive the EPR.
Are EPRs sent for labs and recitations?
If labs and recitations have a primary and/or secondary instructor assigned to them in PeopleSoft, the instructor(s) will receive an EPR. However, if the lab or recitation is not graded and tied to performance in an associated lecture, only one EPR needs to be completed for either the lecture OR lab/recitation. Individuals identified in PeopleSoft as teaching assistants will not receive the EPR.
I don’t see a student I am concerned about on my list. How do I let someone know?
Pittsburgh & Greensburg Campuses:
If you are concerned about someone who is not on your list, you can make a referral using the Pathways Advising website. Choose the student about whom you want to make a referral and click the “Issue a Referral” link. For Pittsburgh Campus students, select "Academic Advisor," add additional comments, and click "Submit." For Greensburg Campus students, select “Greensburg Campus Student Referral,” add additional comments, and click “Submit.” When you make this referral, the student's academic advisor will be notified. They will interpret the situation and take appropriate action.
Please use the Academic Alert system (available through the Campus Services website), for academic concerns throughout the semester, or for information that you do not wish to be shared with the student. For personal, behavioral, or health concerns about a student, please use the Care Report system.
I am not concerned about any of my students. Do I still need to complete an EPR?
Yes, it is useful to know the students about whom instructors are not concerned. You can indicate this by simply checking the “Submit all students (submits unmarked students as not of concern)” button. This marks all unmarked students as not of concern.
What about mid-term grades? Do I need to complete both an EPR and mid-term grades?
Recently, the University implemented a change to the PeopleSoft mid-term grading process to include all students in all classes. In this new process, faculty can now record mid-term grades in much the same way that they report final grades (i.e., via direct input within PeopleSoft Classic, through the HighPoint CX platform, or through import into PeopleSoft Classic from their Canvas grade roster).
Because mid-term grades will be requested later in the semester (approximately weeks 8 to 10) than the EPRs, we encourage faculty to provide both. The EPR is designed to let advisors know of students about whom you have concerns, whereas the mid-term grade is designed to help students understand their performance at that point in the term.
What happens with the information that I provide in the EPR?
As soon as you complete the progress report, the student will get an automated email about the alert raised, which includes a message that you would welcome them at your office hours. Then, after the progress reporting period ends advisors will be encouraged to act and provide outreach to students, as needed.