Higher Ed Moves to Predictive Analytics

So what does predictive analytics in Higher Education have to do with virtual placement? Everything. It’s not just the “business” world that’s moving towards virtual environments. Education is too. More and more universities are moving towards distance learning programs in an attempt to increase their student base and offset the decrease in available full time students. But even the “on campus” students are experiencing a more virtual environment as classes are offered online, text books can be downloaded onto a pad and interaction with the university takes place via a LMS (learning management system) or on the internet.

This new environment has also presented the opportunity to collect more data and more accurately predict a students potential for achieving a degree. My friend Keith Wall at Mattersight recently sent me an article published in InformationWeek: Education and written by Doug Henschen entitled “To Avoid Nasty Surprises, Higher Ed Turns to Prediction”

The article looks at the experiences with two universities. The University of Kentucky and a smaller Taylor University. Both schools started with typical structured data like ACT/SAT scores, high school GPA and grades in the first semester. However to improve their predictive capabilities both moved towards more unstructured data like participation in class, the number of times students log in to their class Web pages, check syllabuses, download homework assignments and collaborate online with classmates, and whether they turn in homework assignments on time. All this information is available via the Universities LMS.

Taylor University, in particular, was able to achieve measurable results reaching 90% accuracy. In 2011, 68  Taylor University freshmen dropped out, yet (and this is important) only nine of those students were on traditional academic alert lists (compiled based on faculty and staff observations rather than data analysis). Welch’s model predicted that 25 of those 68 students wouldn’t return. Bottom line is that in a traditional model on 9 of the students would have received any attention leaving the other 59 students to drop out without an intervention.

So in my world where doe Salesforce come in to play? Salesforce has become the platform that delivers the data real time to those with in the University system who need it first and soonest. My company 360 Vantage has developed retention and enrollment solutions for Universities that include the analytics necessary to  evaluate a students propensity to drop out. We then make sure leadership, enrollment, academic counselors and others get that information so they can respond quickly.

You can read more of the article by clicking here. You can find out more about 360 Vantages  higher ed solution on Salesforce by contacting me. I hope you enjoy the article and as always I look forward to your feedback.

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