The Opportunity Index: Taking Early Warning Systems to the Next Level

Adults without a high school diploma are more likely to face limited employment opportunities and a lifetime of poverty. Educators are looking for ways to identify students who are at risk of dropping out and match them with interventions that can get them back on track. Grand Rapids Public Schools recently partnered with Basis to develop a customized, student-level early warning system that uses dropout risk factors to predict the likelihood that a student will fail to graduate: the Opportunity Index.


The Opportunity Index takes typical early-warning systems to the next level by considering not only whether students are on-track to graduate on time, but whether they are on-track to graduate college and career ready.

  • On-Track to Graduate

    The Opportunity Index combines behavioral indicators of four-year graduation (credits earned, suspensions, and attendance).

  • College and Career Ready

    Readiness scores are composite scores based on leading academic indicators.

Our partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools resulted in the Opportunity Index, which tracks both a student’s progress towards graduating on time as well as their likelihood of being ready for success after high school (often called “college and career readiness”). It focuses on early warning indicators of a student’s progress towards these dual goals using scorecards that pinpoint each student’s progress from kindergarten through high school. Educators and parents are using this tool to identify students for support and to be able to target resources so that more students graduate on time and prepared for success. In an extension of this work, we also partnered with the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation to facilitate conversations around these scorecards among educators, parents, and students.

Students shouldn’t just graduate. They should graduate ready.

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