Use of predictive analytics paying dividends at one university

The Degree Compass program was not meant to be a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy,’ Denley says.

Two years after first using predictive analytics to suggest courses and majors for students, officials at Austin Peay State University are reporting significant increases in passing grades across the institution.

Austin Peay, a four-year public university with more than 10,000 undergraduates, first used predictive analytics in 2011 to suggest academic paths for students, combining hundreds of thousands of past students’ grades with each student’s transcript to make specific recommendations for which courses and majors students would fit into best.

The technology is similar to the systems that generate recommendations on Netflix and Pandora based on a person’s movie and music preferences. Austin Peay’s predictive system, however, does not make recommendations based on the popularity of a certain class or major.…Read More

New development could help colleges improve student retention

The PAR Framework project has released full data definitions in hopes of streamlining research to improve student retention.

A project that aims to identify common factors for why college students transfer, drop out, or fail to complete courses has released full definitions for the more than 60 data fields collected from its 16 institutional partners—a move that could help other schools improve student retention.

For the first time in the Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework project’s history, it has publicly released full data definitions for the institutional, transcript, and student-level data in the PAR database. This is the first time the data fields and definitions used in PAR Framework modeling and analysis have been available beyond the project’s institutional partners.

PAR data definitions have been published using a Creative Commons license to encourage their distribution among the higher-education research community. Moving forward, PAR will continue to refine its data set to align, where appropriate, with the recently released Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) version 3 and other pertinent higher-ed data sets, the project says.…Read More

Predictive analytics driving university practices

Universities are using data to help make more calculated decisions.

As campuses seek to target prospective students and spend precious funds most effectively, more administrators are learning about predictive analytics—statistical techniques that gather data and help campus leaders make predictions about the future.

During its Business Analytics Online Education Conference, IBM tapped a number of college administrators to share their experiences with predictive analytics, and how the trend is helping to improve campus operations.

“Predictive analytics plays a very big role in terms of enrollment,” said Jimmy Jung, assistant vice president for enrollment management at the College at Brockport, which is part of the State University of New York system.…Read More

Analytics use boosts student retention

Nine in 10 colleges use some form of statistical analysis to determine retention and learning strategies.

Phil Ice knows numbers never lie.

Ice, vice president of research and development for American Public University System (APUS), has watched retention rates at the 97,000-student online school steadily climb with the continued analysis of in-depth information that shows when a student might be on the verge of dropping out.

If a student’s test scores are dropping, participation numbers are low, and disengagement is evident through various statistics, the numbers suggest that student might not last much longer at APUS.…Read More

Ed-tech group to push for more analytics use in colleges

Analytics technology can help professors spot struggling students.

Analytics programs that use complex data sets to identify struggling students, the best ways to use campus budgets, and improve faculty and staff efficiency are coming to U.S. colleges and universities, courtesy of the educational technology group EDUCAUSE.

EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit organization that will begin its annual conference Oct. 18 in Philadelphia, announced a three-pronged ed-tech initiative aiming to bolster the use of analytics technology in higher education.

The initiative will include a “major benchmarking study of the state of analytics in higher education” that could provide a baseline that shows just how many campuses are using analytics to improve decision making and student analyses.…Read More