Universities find a collaborative way to measure and obtain success

An Amazon Web Services infrastructure has allowed for a predictive analytics framework to determine college and university at-risk students.

PAR-data-institutionsBy using student data from partner colleges and universities across the country, it can identify more than 75 percent of an institution’s at-risk students, with the ability to save millions of dollars in lost tuition revenue  – as much as  $7 million at a campus with 10,000 students  by identifying students twice as likely to drop out and intervening with them. It can also help identify, measure and prescribe intervention services.

It’s called the Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework, a non-profit, analytics-as-a-service provider, and its success comes not only from a revolutionary infrastructure from Amazon, but from the 25 million cross-institutional course-level records from over 2.5 million students.

“With more than 5o member institutions spanning over 351 unique campuses, all using common data definitions and insight tools, [PAR Framework] is the only national multi-institutional lens for examining dimensions of student success from both unified and contextual perspectives,” said Beth Davis, CEO of the PAR. “PAR member institutions collaborate on identifying points of student loss and to find effective practices that improve student retention in U.S. higher education.”

PAR is also being covered by Gartner, an IT research and advisory firm, which calls PAR a “major step forward” for higher education.

“…In this complex endeavor we recommend a ‘learning by doing’ approach and joining or at least studying the PAR Framework project experience. This is the most advanced openly available information in higher education to our knowledge,” noted Jan-Martin Lowendahl, VP distinguished analyst for Gartner in a 2014 report.

“We’re innovative because we’re unlocking the potential of scale,” emphasized Davis. “Using comparative data with a common language among institutions allows any institution—large or small, community or state, traditional or progressive—to crack the code on what works and what doesn’t in student successprograms.”

(Next page: How PAR works; the power of transparency)

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